The Sc’ianew First Nation received a significant boost to their Spirit Bay Development today when the federal government announced $2.9 million in funding to support the project.
Marc Miller, parliamentary secretary to Indigenous Minister Jane Philpott, announced the federal government’s support of the Beecher Bay band’s plan to build 50,000 square feet of commercial space as part of its Spirit Bay Town Centre project.
The $2.9 million was provided through the Indigenous Services Canada Community Opportunity Readiness Program, which helps First Nations with the development of economic opportunities in their communities.
“Sustained economic success for First Nation communities is a priority for the government of Canada. This investment will contribute to the growth and well-being of the Sc’ianew First Nation, create jobs and capitalize on economic opportunities,” Miller said.
The project includes a major housing development of 400 houses and a central business hub to service the community.
Construction is taking place on First Nation land, and the project has already completed 45 new homes, with another 20 under construction.
To make it possible, the development corporation overseeing the project in partnership with the Sc’ianew, operate under a 150-year lease with the First Nation and anyone buying one of the homes is granted a 99-year lease-hold on the land.
The federal funds will allow for the extension of power lines to the site of the commercial hub, said Geoff Gosson, the director of marketing for the Spirit Bay Development.
“The extension of the three-phase power grid and the gas lines was critical to the town centre development,” he said.
“This sets the stage for the commercial development and the building of the community; a community that will be of enormous benefit to the Beecher Bay First Nation.”
When complete, the new construction will support the residential development with a mix of small- to mid-sized retail and commercial businesses, including a medical facility, gas station, grocery store, fish shop and coffee shop.
Those shops and services will also be available to the surrounding First Nations community and provide them with amenities not previously available to the band.
The project began about five years ago and operates as a partnership between the Beecher Bay First Nation and the Trust for Sustainable Development.