Akisqnuknik Corp explores new ventures

New cultural facility, lake shore development discussed at Aboriginal Business Match.

The Akisqnuknik Development Corporation is exploring several new business opportunities after taking part in the first annual Aboriginal Business Match (ABM) in Prince George from Febraury 13 to 16.

The event was an opportunity for chiefs and economic development officers from 117 First Nations and Tribal Councils to meet with representatives from close to 100 corporations in hopes of growing partnerships and creating new contacts for the future.

“It was such an awesome networking opportunity, and it was very professionally done,” Lillian Rose of the Akisqnuknik Development Corporation (ADC) said. “I couldn’t have made those contacts in the course of a year.”

Rose had attended the event with several goals in mind, and a number of meetings scheduled. She said although she had originally only scheduled 22 prior to arriving, she ended up with closer to 32 meetings  as more and more opportunities presented themselves.

One such organization she came in contact with was the P3 Canada Fund.

The P3 Canada Fund is a $1.2 billion investment fund set up by the federal government to support public-private partnerships, where private sector companies and the government both chip in for a government service or other business venture. This was of particular interest to Rose because of preliminary planning that has been done for a multi-use facility on Akisqnuk First Nation lands.

However, since the P3 Fund only considers projects with a minimum of $20 million investment, Rose says that there have now been discussions with regional mayors and representatives to expand the proposed facility into a truly regional centre.

“I think we’re going to submit an initial application (to the P3 Fund),” Rose said. “We just want to see what the appetite from the P3 is about whether our project works, and see if it’s something they’d consider funding.”

Rose says that the new facility could have a number of different uses, from supporting local groups to possibly hosting the performing arts, but also cautions that while certain lands have been voted on for development so far, the project is still in its preliminary planning stages.

Among the other opportunities that Rose went to the ABM to pursue was the ongoing development plans for their lake shore resort properties.

Thanks to their location on Lake Windermere, Rose says that the ADC is very interested in working with groups that have experience with water and waste management.

“That’s really important to us because of our location on Lake Windermere,” Rose said.

“With all of the work that’s been happening with the Lake Windermere Management Plan we want to make sure that we’re leading as far as waste management goes.”