A new development agreement between the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Prince Edward Island Mi’kmaq will provide advanced economic opportunities for First Nations and the province.
The new agreement was signed this afternoon (August 30) by Premier Wade MacLauchlan, minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, and the board of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, which is composed of the chiefs and councillors of Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.
“This agreement will help advance economic prosperity for our province,” said Premier MacLauchlan. “Our government is committed to supporting all Islanders as we work together to strengthen and grow our province. We are pleased to continue to work in a co-operative manner to advance the interests of First Nations Islanders in a positive and respectful relationship.”
Under this new agreement, the provincial government will invest $2.2 million to assist in the construction of a new commercial and office complex on the Charlottetown waterfront, which will be owned by the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.
The project will enhance services to Indigenous People within Charlottetown and create jobs and self-employment opportunities. It will include office space leased by the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, other commercial space, high-quality retail space for Mi’kmaq arts and crafts, a cultural space and learning centre for teaching and demonstrations, and an urban Indigenous centre, which will house much-needed expanded and enhanced social programming and services for the off-reserve community.
This agreement is an example of what can be accomplished when governments work together with respect and good faith”, said Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit First Nation. “This development represents a tremendous opportunity for the Mi’kmaq Governments, the Mi’kmaq People and the entire urban Indigenous population.”
The agreement was reached as government works to identify and build opportunities for growth and prosperity for all Islanders. Recognizing the province’s integrated economy, government has begun the process of acquiring the shares of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation and the Summerside Regional Development Corporation. The agreement fulfills the province’s duty to consult First Nations communities respecting this matter and ensures they are a key partner in the development and vitality of the Charlottetown waterfront and the province’s economic success.
“The $2.2 million being contributed by the province toward a new commercial and office complex being developed on the Charlottetown Waterfront by our Mi’kmaq governments will result in long-term stable revenue for both of our First Nation governments that can be invested in important community services,” said Chief Matilda Ramjattan of Lennox Island First Nation. “It will also include retail space, a cultural centre and a hub for program and service delivery. The benefits for the off-reserve community will be immeasurable.”