Residents of Paqtnkek have given the green light to a commercial development on reserve lands near the Paqtnkek Interchange Project , currently under construction. The First Nations Community held what’s called a Land Designation Vote yesterday. Of 196 Community members who cast ballots, 192 said yes, two said no. There was one spoiled ballot and one rejected ballot.
The first phase of the development, the Bayside Travel Centre, which includes a gas station, the relocated Paqtnkek entertainment centre and food service providers will be open in about a year from now.
Paqtnkek and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish have signed a Friendship Accord. The accord includes a commitment by the two communities to
collaborate in such areas as economic development. It’s among the first of its kind in Canada. The agreement was signed over the weekend by Paqtnkek Chief PJ Prosper and Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron at St. Anne’s Church, Summerside Road, also known as Walnek, a traditional meeting place for centuries. Prosper says what he hopes comes out of this agreement is that a relationship has been established
Participants at the ceremony smoked a traditional pipe, gifts were exchanged as a sign of friendship and a rare ceremonial black ash tree planted.
McCarron says with this accord, it brings the two communities closer.
This accord is one of the first in Canada to be signed by a municipal government and an Indigenous community. The signing is the result of a program called the Community Economic Development Initiative, a joint project of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and the Canadian Aboriginal Native Development Officers Organization
Paqtnkek Chief P. J. Prosper has been re-elected to another term. Prosper garnered 167 votes the community’s election Friday, compared to 114 for challenger Gerard Julian.
There’s little change in the election to Band Council. Four councillors were re-elected; Kerry Prosper, Dolly Prosper, Anne Marie Paul and Judy Bernard-Julian. The fifth member elected to council is a newcomer; Tma Francis. There were 16 names on the ballot. Two ballots were spoiled
It’s election day at the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation. Community members will decide who will be their Chief and members of the Band Council.
There’s two candidates for Chief, incumbent PJ Prosper and Michael Julian.
There are sixteen candidates vying for the five seats on the band council. All five members of current band council are seeking re-election. Voting opens at 9 this morning and concludes at 8 tonight.
The chief of the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation P. J. Prosper says the Highway 104 Interchange project presents opportunity. Over the weekend, the federal and
provincial governments announced 15.3 million dollars for the project. The province will spend up to 8.9 million dollars on the Interchange, the federal government more than 6.4 million.
The interchange will provide access to Paqtnkek reserve lands that have been cut off from the community since the construction of the Trans Canada Highway in the 1960’s. Prosper says this will allow the community to grow, and for its residents to dream about what is possible in the future.
Prosper says community members are excited about the future.
Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines says the Highway 104 Paqtnkek Interchange project is a game changer for the First Nations community.
Hines expects this project will have a significant economic impact to Paqtnkek.
Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner says this project is key for the community.
Construction of the project is already underway