Kingsclear First Nation is dedicated to providing support to community members who wish to advance their careers and take advantage of opportunities in all sectors of society. Healthy lifestyles are developed by making the right choices, working hard to reach goals and realizing the potential to be anything you really want. We intend to ensure that new opportunities exist for forward looking people with positive attitudes and a desire to succeed. There is nothing holding anybody back from what they truly want to be.
We are taking a holistic approach to development in our First Nation, beginning with the child and working through to adulthood. We advocate proper education, cultural awareness and career objectives for all community members and are working to make opportunities for those who will take advantage of them. Our direction is forward and with positive attitude as we strive to make the community more vibrant and self sufficient. People are our greatest resource and we intend to develop them to our full potential.
We have created a working group to help facilitate the development of a committee that will guide our processes as we move forward. Members will include our Human Resources, Education, Community Development and Social personnel. Our goal is to have a mandate for a working committee and be fully functional within one year. We intend to inventory the people and resources of our community in order to assess where we can best apply our efforts to develop educational, training and business opportunities with an emphasis on employment for Band Members.
Currently we are in various stages of the following projects;
The recent announcement that NB Power will be making changes to the Mactaquac Generating station is a significant one for Kingsclear First Nation. They have outlined three possible scenarios, all of which represent significant opportunities for Kingsclear First Nation. We must remain firm in our conviction that we the first community affected by any project at Mactaquac and should have a significant role in any process regarding the facility.
A new generating station is the largest possible project and would represent our greatest possible benefit. Not only should we be deeply involved in the construction of the new station, but we should have a significant role in operating the facility. In fact, there is no reason Kingsclear First Nation could not wholly operate the dam and we must begin to move our youth toward careers with the potential for managing and operating a new generating station.
Refurbishment of the old facility is another scenario that NB Power is considering and of course offers the same opportunities as the new facility on a smaller scale. Construction processes in either case offers tremendous opportunity for both people and business. The scale of the work would create a chance to take advantage of the requirements for employees ranging from laborers to engineer, to site and project managers, drivers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, concrete specialists and more. We are also uniquely positioned to take advantage of provision of supplies and fuels, accommodation, food and entertainment for working crews. There many facets of either project in which we would find great opportunity but we need to be ready when the work begins.
The third scenario is the decommissioning of the present dam, also a very large project with similar chances for development and employment. This choice would also be the most meaningful culturally for the Maliseet as our river would eventually return to some semblance of the way it was before Mactaquac.
We are positioning our community to take full advantage of these huge opportunities and in partnership with Dillon Consulting have already succeeded in providing opportunities for our people.
Band Members are aware that we also have unresolved issues with the present facility, and although the erosion problem is not really a matter for Community Development, the resolution could have implications for our community in the form of opportunity. For this reason we must be aware of what occurred in the past.
The building of the present dam resulted in little economic activity for Kingsclear beyond the employment of some of our people and once the dam was in place there was no longer work for our community. We will not let this happen again, we intend to make sure our connection to the facility is meaningful for our community and results in career oriented employment for as many as possible.
Kingsclear First Nation has also dealt with erosion in the past and received a settlement in regards to our losses. This is a history lesson of great value, the development that followed this process quickly failed. The lodge, the guide service all failed for a range of reasons. The physical treatment of our riverbank has created a dangerous eyesore that seems to have accelerated the erosion below it and now we face an uncertain future at our waterfront.
Community Development would like to ensure that we receive proper recognition for our losses and that our waterfront is returned to one that better accommodates our ancient presence on the river with access for our community that is safe for our children and future generations. This may be costly and difficult to achieve but we cannot settle for what previous efforts resulted in. For this reason we have engaged NB Power in doing a study of the present day river and its currents to understand how they affect our shoreline and how we might regain some of our waterfront. They have agreed to pay for this project with an understanding that the resulting information will be shared.
There is a mega-project in the near future and it will take place very close to Kingsclear First Nation. We will be ready to put our members at the forefront of all opportunities created by this work. The future is closer than we think and it may sound like a dream, but really there is no reason Kingsclear cannot build and maintain a new hydroelectric facility at Mactaquac.
Our community store has been successful over the years and has outgrown its present location and structure. It is easy to recognize that we require an expansion to help alleviate the problems with traffic flow and service delivery as well as an expanding product line. The last census indicated that the Kingsclear area was one of only six in the province to experience a population growth of more than ten percent, which would indicate that we can expect more business as our extended community grows.
Kingsclear First Nation is in the early stages of planning for the expansion, looking to acquire land directly adjacent to route 102 in order to accommodate greater access and an expanded product line. We would also like to develop other businesses on this site which will have direct access from our reserve.
Kingsclear First Nation recognizes the controversial nature of proposed gaming within our community. We also recognize the significant impact this has had on the development of other First Nation communities in New Brunswick. We understand that many community members now leave our community to visit other gaming facilities in nearby First Nations.
Our community could benefit from closely regulated gaming in many ways, employment, additional revenues and more exposure for other businesses here at Kingsclear. We are currently exploring several business models with a plan for trying a small scale operation before developing a full size facility.
Kingsclear First Nation has focused its efforts in the fishery to creating a greater return on our present licenses by leasing them, much like many successful non-native corporations do. The result is that we retain all of our rights to Communal Commercial licenses but incur minimal expense in return for capital, which allows for distribution to Band Members in the form of royalties.
We are also in the process of applying for funds to train people in the processing of our own seafood which will add value to our current program. These are seasonal opportunities, but represent an effort to see more people take part in on-shore processes.
Kingsclear First Nation is also exploring opportunities in aquaculture, specializing in Eel and Sea Urchin production. These are large scale projects which will take time to develop while looking for partners to help us build these businesses. They represent more long term, permanent employment for community members by providing year-round work.
As an extension of commercial fisheries we are working several projects involving tourism based businesses. Whale watching with an element of Maliseet culture included is currently being developed to compete with other whale watching activities.
We would also like to develop guided tours for the Saint John River which would be operated out of Kingsclear First Nation during the summer/fall months and land based adventures in the winter. These activities would include an element of cultural immersion as a selling point and should generate business throughout the year.
Kingsclear First Nation continues to cut our allocation under the Allowable Annual Cut arrangement with the province. The amount of wood allotted is cut by contractors under agreement with the band and results in significant return without great expenditure, resulting in capital for community members through royalties. We are currently working with companies specializing in added value wood products that utilize some of the more exotic species harvested on our woodlot. The intention is to provide opportunities for Band Members to develop skills in wood manufacturing and related industries.
Recent court cases have allowed for Maliseet individuals to harvest wood for “personal” use, the right was described as communal and as such Kingsclear First Nation would like to take advantage of this opportunity to develop programs that allow us to reap as much benefit as possible from our wood.
Maliseet people have always used wood as the main tool in their economy, especially for warmth. There is no more traditional use for wood then the making of fire for heat, cooking and ceremony. Long before we used it to build houses of any style, we gathered around a fire, especially when shelter was limited or nonexistent. Our project will document how much wood we actually need to address our basic needs here in Kingsclear, we would like to look at wood fired electrical generation and milling processes for our use in housing and repair work. Kingsclear First Nation would like to maximize our opportunity to community members by utilizing our communal right to the benefit of all, with or without Provincial support.