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Sachigo business centre waiting on winter road for completion

Wednesday November 28, 2012
When finished the business centre will have offices for the band administration and council, Sachigo's economic development and health departments, a four-unit hotel and restaurant among other things.

Construction on Sachigo Lake First Nation’s $3.6 million business centre is set to take a break while the community waits for the cold weather that will signal the opening of its winter road.

While work on the 12,400 square foot building is over half finished, construction materials have run low due to last year’s shortened winter road season.

That has left the contractors with no choice but to take a two-month hiatus, waiting for the opening of the winter road, which usually happens sometime in January.

“We’re hoping for a good winter road season, so we can bring all the rest of the materials in this winter,” said Sachigo Lake Chief Titus Tait. “We can’t fly it in, because it would add costs to the project.”

If all goes well with the winter road season and the remaining supplies can be brought in, work will continue right away and the community should be ready to hold a grand opening of the new business centre in June 2013, Tait said.

The chief said the centre will help Sachigo Lake create employment opportunities and business partnerships with the private sector.

“A modern and efficient business centre will assist the First Nation in diversifying its economy and provide commercial space for band members to pursue small business opportunities in the community,” Tait said.

Once opened, the business centre will host offices for the band’s council and administration, its economic development and health and social services departments, and community organizations such as Tikanagan Child and Family Services.

It will also feature a four-suite hotel, a restaurant and the community’s post office, as well as an economic development incubation office with information and space for band members who want to start their own small business.

Sachigo Lake First Nation has invested $1.7 million into the project. The remainder of the funds came from federal and provincial grant applications.

Kenora MP Greg Rickford announced last week the federal government’s $490,000 contribution to the project, money that came from FedNor.

Rickford said in a press release that the money will help “strengthen and develop the local economy.”

“More importantly, this initiative will empower Sachigo Lake First Nation to take charge of its future,” Rickford said.

FedNor minister Tony Clement added that the business centre will help the community partner with industry working in the area.

“(The funding) will provide the Sachigo Lake First Nation with the infrastructure it needs to attract new investment to the area and enable existing businesses to grow and prosper,” said Clement. “It will also help position the community as a base of operations for the region’s mining sector and assist in pursuing opportunities in the tourism, forestry, energy and service sectors.”

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