Voting is underway in a land designation referendum for a First Nations community in Antigonish Co.
Both on-and-off-reserve band members of the Paq’tnkek First Nation can cast ballots until 8 p.m. Thursday.
P.J. Prosper, Paq’tnkek’s Chief, says a simple majority ‘yes’ vote will allow band officials to designate a parcel of reserve land north of the community’s new highway interchange for commercial development.
Prosper tells The Hawk the proposed Bayside Travel Centre would include a gas station, a coffee shop and-or restaurant, along with Paq’tnkek’s relocated entertainment centre.
“We’re in the midst of negotiations with different companies in terms of who will be locating their establishments on the particular site.”
Prosper says the development would not be band-run; band officials would likely lease the land to reps from various companies.
He says they’re well aware of success stories of other First Nations communities in Millbrook and Membertou.
“That sort of lends itself to quite a bit of the excitement that allows community members to dream about the potential of this project for our community in terms of growth, prosperity and development.”
Prosper says based on a 96 per cent result in favour of surrendering 67 acres of reserve land to federal officials for the $15,300,000 interchange project in July, he’s optimistic for the outcome of this vote.
He says traffic could be flowing through the new interchange by the winter, while the proposed Bayside Travel Centre could be open as early as next spring.
Photo credits: paqtnkek.ca