Kingsclear First Nation has been recognized nationally for its work developing new business opportunities.
“It feels really good to be recognized … it kind of helps us put ourselves on the map and to show that Kingsclear is open for business,” said Sydney Paul, the director of economic development in Kingsclear First Nation.
The community, which is 17 kilometres west of Fredericton, was recognized last week at a conference in Gatineau, Que., where it was named runner-up for the Community of the Year award.
The award was provided by Cando, a national group that promotes economic development activities in Indigenous communities.
Paul said most of the community’s economic development has been in the form of retail. The community’s only store was moved from the heart of the community up to Route 102 in 2017 because it was outgrowing the space.
She said profits at the convenience store have increased by 34 per cent since the move, which has allowed more money to be invested into the community.
“One of the things that we fund as an administration is recreational activities, so if any of the kids want to partake in any of the events we have, we help fund the registration fees or anything like that,” she said.
Paul said it’s an honour for the community to receive this award and the community will continue to focus on economic development.
The gaming lounge is also being relocated and the community’s first coffee shop is being built.
She said Kingsclear is open to partnering with Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses and the band and council is now looking into renewable energy and cannabis production.
“Our next step is just trying to kind of formulate a lot of our ideas because right now we’re in the process of developing our economic development plan,” she said. “So kind of putting a lot of the vision on paper so we know how to move forward.”