First Nation in Nova Scotia to receive long-sought after highway interchange
Rose Paul, the economic development officer for Nova Scotia's Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation, poses by new highway interchange sign in her community.
By Sam Laskaris
Members of Nova Scotia’s Paqtnkek Mi’qmaw Nation have plenty of reasons to smile these days. And they can thank Rose Paul, the director of lands and economic development of their First Nation, for that. Shortly after joining the First Nation’s administration department in 2006, Paul focussed her thoughts on the community’s need to have a highway interchange.
That’s because since the 1960s when Highway 104 (part of the Trans-Canada Highway) was built, the Paqtnkek First Nation was basically divided into half. The southern portions of the First Nation were not easily accessible and thus, not developed.
That is about to change though. In July of this year members of the community voted overwhelmingly to surrender parts of their land in order to have a highway interchange and connector roads built. This will allow both residential and retail properties to be built.
“It was a very long process, very difficult and a lot of barriers we had to go through,” Paul said. In part for her continued efforts in making this deal become a reality, Paul has been nominated for Cando’s economic developer officer of the year award.
Winners in this category, as well as those from community and Aboriginal Private Sector Business categories, will be honored in late October. A ceremony will be held at the Cando Conference, which will be held in Fredericton, N.B.
The vast majority of those from the community were looking to develop the southern portions of the First Nation. A total of 277 ballots were cast in the land-surrendering deal and 265 of those were in favour. The highway project is expected to cost $15.3 million.
The First Nation will also receive more than $2 million in compensation for the use of its land and to move some families and reconstruct homes that will be affected by the project. Paul believes eventually adding businesses and homes to the First Nation will be a win-win for all.
“It’s good to see my community feel better and to know we can improve the life of all of our members,” she said.