The (EDO) Economic Development Officer for the band is Kevin Johnson. His responsibilities are to negotiate with different government agencies to secure funding for different projects that the band plans to introduce. One of the key areas that he deals with is in securing consultants to draft business plans. Once these plans are finished he then presents them first to the Council for approval and then he approaches potential partners such as Indian Affairs, HRDC, the province or other funders to assists in financing.
The other areas that he is involved with is to direct band members how to startup their own businesses. He advises them what to expect and the steps that are required when a person decides to open a business.
The Economic Development Officer has been involved with the tourism project here in Chapel Island since the early stages. He has helped obtain funding from different agencies to help with the building of the site and every other aspect of it, from getting teepees to the hiring of all the personal that have worked on the site. This project has employed a number of people directly and has created some contracts for others here in the community.
The Band Council is in the process of starting up a few new projects in the near future. Once the site is developed alongside the existing Band Office there are plans by the Council to use this area as a central area for economic development. One of the major projects being the construction of a gas bar along with a coffee shop with the possibility of having a general store/convienience, the site will house a number of different entities examples like an interpretive center/cultural information. There are also plans to build a gaming facility. another initiative the band is planning is to get into the boat tour business with the assistance from the Apaqtukewag Fisheries this venture would provide tours around the local area with central point of interest being Chapel Island, the Island itself, how and when it was established and why it is still so important to the First Nations in the Maritimes.
The plan would entail the following, a wharf would be built on the further end of the Island away from the main area where the gathering takes place, namely the St. Anne's Mission. A walking trail would be made leading to the cross from the water front. An interpreter who would also be the tour guide would provide information about the eco-system and how the Mi'kmaq used different plants and fauna as medicine from these raw materials available and how they were used by our people in the olden days.
The next project will be a golfdriving range along with a couple of batting cages. this will not only provide economic benifits, but it would increase recreational activities here in the community for the youth as well as local band members. It is hoped that this project will also attract some of the drive-by traffic that passes through the community to stop and utilize this service, therefore creating more economic activity in the community.
Another inititiative the Band is planning is establishing a local Radio Station in the community. Negotiations are currently under-way to determine the best approach to use for this venture.
Chapel Island is on the verge of being recognized as a National Historical Site within the years end, when this occurs it is expected that it will draw people to the community. Research shows that the majority of tourists who travel are more likely to visit a Historical Site than any other place. According to statisitcs from Tourism Nova Scotia, the average visitor is well educated and is most likely willing to learn more about different cultures when they travel.
One of the projects that's underway is to expand the fisheries to include trade in oysters. Working in conjunction with Apaqtukewaq Fisheries, the economic development officer has been able to obtain funds from different sectors to help build a plant where oysters can be packed and sold to markets in and outside Canada. This project will provide full-time employment for two people and will hire six more on a seasonal basis. Most of the money that will be used to build this facility will come in the form of grants from Indian Affairs thus eliminating extra costs that would otherwise have to come from the Band Office.
The Band is in the process of introducing a program from ACOA which will bring a project into the community which will deal with Economic Development. The Aboriginal Business Service Network will give considerable opportunities for Aboriginal entrepreneurs to form a new partnership strategy for Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Business Service Network will respond by improving access to, and use of information, services and training, customized to the needs of the Aboriginal community. ABSN has provided a computer with latest software to better communicate with resources in accessing business information. Host organizations are able to rely on the CBSN hub as a central supplier to seek out and access potential data sources. It will help build partnerships with participating departments and agencies, the government is working on building partnerships with private sectors as well. These areas would include the following:
- expanding business opportunities
- increasing Aboriginal Self-reliance
- building a supportive economic environment for Aboriginal enterprise and enhancing overall growth in Canada
Entrepreneurs' needs will be met by increasing their potential for accessing capital, expanding their businesses and achieving success. This network should be in place at the cap-site in the very near future.
Ma'sl Productions : 535-2462
Alex Marshall Dive Shop : 535-3547
Johnson's Autobody : 535-2386
Native Alcohol and Drug : 535-3900
Basque Convenience : 535-3405
C.I. Enterprises, Tourism Developmental Corp : 535-3317
C.I. Daycare : 535-2041
Community Hall : 535-2565
Irene Gould's Avon : 535-2072