The Antigonish County Municipality and the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation are holding a series a
meetings with its residents to talk about recreation and active living.
Recreation staff and municipal and band councillors are looking for ideas on how to enhance recreation and physical activity opportunities to meet the needs of the community.
Physical Activities Coordinator with the county’s Recreation Department Meaghan MacNeil says the meetings will be informal, following a “kitchen table” format. MacNeil says these public discussions could touch on a broad range of issues.
The first meeting will be Tuesday night at the Heatherton Community Centre. Future sessions are planned for St. Andrew Junior School on June 4th, East Antigonish Education and Academy on June 7th, and Arisaig Community Hall on June 11th. There’s also meetings at the Paqtnkek Health Centre on June 13th and St. Joseph’s Lakeside Community Centre on the June 18th. All meetings will start at 6:30.
The Antigonish County Municipality and Paqtnkek are entered in a national federal government contest that could net millions of dollars for projects. It’s
called the Smart Cities Challenge, where communities submit proposals to improve the lives of its citizens through innovation, data and connected technology.
Antigonish County’s Director of Sustainable Communities, Tammy Feltmate says the joint submission from the municipality and Paqtnkek is for communities up to 300-thousand people. It carries a top prize of up to $10 million.
Feltmate says it decided to move up to a larger category after the strong feedback of ideas from residents.
Feltmate says it’s narrowed down it’s challenge statement, which must be 50 words or less to water and its connections to energy. The deadline for submissions is today, the finalists will be announced this summer.
Paqtnkek Chief PJ Prosper says he would like his successor to be a woman. Prosper believes the First Nations community is ready for a female to lead it. Prosper
Paqtnkek Chief P. J. Prosper (right) takes the Oath of Office from Don Julien, Executive Director of the Confederation of Mainland Mi’kmaq
says choosing a woman as chief would send a sign that it’s committed to develop a leadership that reflects the fundamental values and principles of who they are as Mi’kmaq people.
Prosper says it’s part of an overall goal of seeing more community members seeking to become involved in leadership roles.
Prosper says he hopes that leadership can be mentored at a young age, and teach about service to the community.
Paqtnkek Chief P. J. Prosper and members of the First Nations community’s Band Council officially began a new term of office Wednesday. Prosper and Band Council were sworn in at a ceremony before the Executive Director of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, Don Julien. There are four returning councillors following last month’s election; Kerry Prosper, Dolly Prosper, Anne Marie Paul and Judy Bernard-Julian. New to council is Tma Francis.
Paqtnkek Chief P. J. Prosper (right) takes the Oath of Office from Don Julien, Executive Director of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq
The Oath of Office taken by Chief and council is unique to Paqtnkek, which swears a commitment to the community.
It was developed by Chief Prosper several years ago.
Several other Mi’kmaq communities in the province have also adopted Paqtnkek’s Oath of Office for their swearing-in ceremonies
Chief Prosper says it’s a busy time ahead for council with the Interchange project underway.
The Interchange will also 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
The province has announced a $1.5 million home efficiency program for First Nations communities.
The program was announced this morning in Paqtnkek by Energy Minister and Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Michel Samson. Under the program, it will include perform full efficiency assessments for First Nations homes and offer training to community members.
Eligible homes will receive a home energy assessment and energy efficiency upgrades at no charge. Upgrades can include draft-proofing, insulation and other options.
Homeowners who participate in the program, and heat with a source other than electricity can expect to save up to $965 on their energy bills annually.