- Category: news
- Created: Thursday, 15 August 2013 15:20
- Published: Thursday, 15 August 2013 15:20
- Written by Administrator 3
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Serpent River First Nation should benefit from economic development project, chief says
The community of Elliot Lake is hoping to push ahead with the development of more waterfront cottage lots on crown land — this time in partnership with the Serpent River First Nation.
Elliot Lake has already developed about 200 lots on crown land provided by the province. The unique development is part of a plan to diversify the economy in the former uranium mining town and rebrand itself as a cottaging destination.
Based on the success of the nearly sold out first phase, Mayor Rick Hamilton said the city is now looking for approval from the province to develop 700 more waterfront lots.
"We see people either seasonally or permanently — and they are enjoying their cottage or the amenities," he said. "So along with that comes visitation and people spending money ... we are seeing a fairly positive impact on the community."
The sale of the lots helps drive economic development because people who buy them must build cottages within four years, Hamilton said.
Partner for next phase
If the second phase of development goes ahead, some of the economic development generated will go to the nearby Serpent River First Nation.
The crown land where the cottage lots would be developed is part of Serpent River First Nation traditional territory, said Chief Isadore Day.
"With respect to the city doing their thing within the core of their town, that's one thing, and it's one that we often support," he said. "But with respect to this major crown land development, it's some thing that we are concerned with."
Day and Hamilton say an agreement in principal has been reached to provide Serpent River with half of the economic benefit generated by the new cottage lots.
The discussion of resource revenue sharing for First Nations is often equated with mining in northern Ontario but, in this situation, Day said his community is looking to extract benefit from waterfront living.
"We want to make sure, as a First Nation, that we don't leave any stone uncovered," he said.
"We want to look at are there both profit and non-profit situations where the First Nations can say 'well, you know what, there's a potential career for "x" amount of young people in our community', as a result of major growth in a certain area."
'Bumps along the way'
Elliot Lake Mayor Rick Hamilton said the city is willing to work with Serpent River on the project, but there are still details to be worked out, including how benefits from the proposed project will be calculated and shared.
"It always take a bit of time to work through these issues and it wasn't without some bumps along the way," he said.
"We always try to keep focused on the real picture, which is long-lasting economic impact and benefit for the entire area ... not just Elliot Lake."
Hamilton said Elliot Lake is hoping to receive approval from the province this fall for the next phase of cottage lot development.
However, that still hinges on community discussions in Serpent River to ensure band members are on board with the project, Day said.