Municipal officials in Antigonish Co. and representatives with the Paq’tnkek First Nation have formalized their economic development agreement.
Municipal and Paq’tnkek officials entered into the First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development initiative in November, 2016.
The goal is to work closely on joint planning for economic development, land-use and green energy.
After Saturday’s ceremony at St. Anne’s Church in Bayfield, Owen McCarron, Antigonish Co.’s warden, said Russell Boucher, the county’s former warden, was a driving force behind the agreement.
“He was absolutely super enthusiastic about building this relationship; (he) felt the need to do it, felt that it’s been far too long that we haven’t had a formalized relationship,” he said. “We were so happy when Rose Paul (Director of Economic Development for Paq’tnkek) made the initial application and Russell saw the benefit of that and brought it to our council.”
Paul Prosper, Paq’tnkek’s Chief, said it was the perfect venue for the historic occasion.
“There’s a lot of history here in terms of the relationship the community has initially through the church, the Catholic church,” he said, “Then later on, through Anku’kamkewey, the treaty relationship.”
The ceremony included the planting of a rare ceremonial black ash tree, an exchange of gifts and the signing of a friendship accord on birch bark.