Community Votes for Sawmill
THUNDER BAY – Business – “The community has spoken, and I am thrilled with the result of Saturday’s vote and with the mandate that has been provided by our membership”, said Chief Laura Airns. The Chief and Council of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) are proud to announce the successful ratification vote for the development of their Sawmill.
On Saturday, August 24th, a vote was held at the BNA Reserve lands through the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development’s Land Designation ratification process. Community members had an opportunity to vote via mail-in ballot or at the voting booth on the day of ratification. The result of the vote was 57–21, a clear mandate for the development of the Sawmill. As a result of the vote, the first lot in BNA’s Industrial Park will be designated for the purpose of developing a Sawmill, and the community’s economic development corporation, Papasay Management Corp, will be the leaseholder. Bingwi Neyaashi is in the process of developing a Land Code under the First Nation Land Management Act, which it hopes will facilitate future developments by allowing the community to proceed under its own laws, rather than those imposed on them by the Indian Act.
“I will continue to work side-by-side with the BNA members as our economic development corporation, Papasay, proceeds with this development,” added Chief Airns.
Guy Gladu, Papasay’s President and General Manager, says that this vote will allow the community to work with its funders and local investors to make the development a reality. “We envision an operation that will provide employment to our members, revenue for our community, and building material for our homes. It is an exciting time at BNA”. For Chief Airns, Saturday’s vote is a result of years of hard work. “I’d like to thank BNA’s Council, as well as the previous Chief and Council and PMC Board members, for all of their hard work in making this Project a reality. There will always be a small number of members who will find any reason to be opposed to any initiative or project that we pursue. I would like to recognize the silent majority of members who clearly want development. We hear you, and we will do our best to continue to build that trust between our First Nation and our Development Corporation”.
About Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek: BNA, also known as Sand Point First Nation, is a community of nearly 250 people. The First Nation is located on the southeast shores of Lake Nipigon. BNA just recently had its land returned to them in April 2010 following years of displacement at the hands of the provincial and federal governments. The community and its leadership are now forging ahead with major economic development initiatives, and re-establishing the community for the eventual return of the membership to their homeland.
About Papasay Management Corp: Papasay is BNA’s Economic Development Corporation. It has a Board of Directors made up of community members and technical advisors, and is active in economic, resource, and business development, as well as the development of partnerships that will facilitate these developments for the benefit of the BNA membership