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For immediate release
November 1, 2018

Antigonish, NS: Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation announced today that Wilsons Fuels and Calgary-based Husky will team up to supply an Esso-branded outlet in the community’s new commercial development 20 kilometres east of Antigonish.

Husky will supply diesel fuel to the station’s card-lock operation as a convenience for long-haul truckers traveling on the Trans-Canada Highway to and from Cape Breton and Newfoundland & Labrador.

“This is a historic day for our community,” said Chief PJ (Paul) Prosper. “We are creating a better economic future for ourselves and future generations. We are thrilled to have such credible business partners as we launch the Bayside Travel Centre, phase one of our commercial development.”

The Bayside Travel Centre, now under construction, will include:
• 24-hour retail fuel with complementary ‘call ahead’ service to customers requiring assistance;
• 24-hour diesel fuel card-lock station for long-haul trucks working the northeast corridor;
• Electric charging station;
• A truckers’ lounge that includes a separate entrance, rest area with wall-mounted flat screen TV, free wi-fi and large showers with a secure change area;
• A Band-owned and operated convenience store with basic items for the local market plus freshly prepared food and convenience products for people on-the-go;
• Two ‘quick service’ restaurants, each with a drive-through around an atrium that will feature free wi-fi, a bank machine and washrooms;
• Doorless public washrooms so users can avoid touching door handles. A separate family washroom with an infant change table will have a lockable door;
• A 50-seat public seating area in the atrium with comfortable chairs and group seating. This area will also be used for community gatherings and tourist presentations;
• Seasonal Visitor Information Centre (VIC) and Aboriginal/Nova Scotia Crafts kiosks will be included in the atrium. The VIC will have permanent design features (counter with staff workspace, map and brochure holders) while the crafts kiosks will be wheeled and removable;
• Free wi-fi will be provided under the Band’s CRTC license. Fiber optics is currently available at the Paqtnkek Health Centre and will be extended across the Trans-Canada Highway to the project;
• A landscaped outdoor activity area with a separate parking lot. Uses in the outdoor space will include a dog park, seasonal retail pads (ice cream stand, food trucks, etc.) and treed seating areas with benches.

“Market studies show that we are in a prime location to capture significant truck traffic along this key route to Cape Breton,” added Prosper.

“For too long, we were denied access to our own reserve land on the south side of the highway. With access, we can now create own-source revenues to support programs, services and infrastructure within our community. And we’re committing to a sustainable long-term development that includes green space for the enjoyment of our community members and for visitors from around the world.”

The travel centre will be a non-smoking building that will have three-phase power with a backup emergency generator. This means Emergency Health Services (EHS) paramedics can use the site for potential medical responses.

Adjacent to the Bayside Travel Centre will be an entertainment centre containing video lottery terminals under the Band’s gaming agreement with the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. This is a relocation and expansion of the existing Band-owned business.

The travel centre is expected to open in the summer of 2019. The Band will consult with community members about phase two of the development, which will be located just to the east of the travel centre.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this commercial development along the Trans-Canada Highway near Antigonish,” said Steve Perry, Maritime Account Manager, Wilsons Fuels. “We are very proud of our relationship with the Paqtnkek community and look forward to our bright future together.”

“We look forward to working with Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation on this exciting project,” added Matt Omelchuk, Manager of Business Development, Husky. “Professional drivers traveling between Cape Breton and Newfoundland and Labrador will have the convenience of accessing a card-lock, while also enjoying all the amenities at the Bayside Travel Centre.”

Rose Paul, Paqtnkek’s Director of Land and Economic Development, says the project honours the community’s name and historic role as a meeting place for Mi’kmaq travelers heading to and from Cape Breton.

“The word ‘Paqtnkek’ in English means ‘By the bay’ and ‘side’ acknowledges the now-accessible land on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway,” said Paul.

She added: “I would also like to acknowledge the support of many other partners who have been working diligently with us, including the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs, Indigenous Services Canada, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, Nova Scotia Power, Robotnik Communications, Nova Construction, Alva Construction, Rodney MacLean Forestry, MacLane & Bernard Construction, Hatch Engineering, the Chris Lowe Group and MacFawn and Rogers Architects.”

About us

Wilsons Fuels
As an independent gasoline retailer and supplier, Wilsons Gas Stops operates its own service stations and distributes fuel to dealers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Wilsons Gas Stops operates 77 company service stations, 11 Wilsons Gas Stops and 66 Esso stations. It distributes products to 200 dealers in Atlantic Canada. The family-run business has been recognized as one of Canada’s ‘50 Best Managed Companies’.

Husky operates a network of retail outlets from British Columbia to New Brunswick, including more than 400 Husky-branded sites and more than 150 Esso-branded card-lock sites.

Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation
Located in northeastern Nova Scotia, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaq Nation is a small community of 450 on-reserve members with another 130 living off-reserve in Canada and the United States. The Band was recently awarded a financial performance certificate from the First Nations Financial Management Board for being one of the best managed First Nations in Canada.

Media contacts:

Richard Perry, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation
Tel: (902) 870-9662

Steve Perry, Wilsons Fuels

Kim Guttormson, Husky

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by Richard Perry

She started out three years ago as a part-timer on the Band’s clean-up crew. Today Betty Googoo is leading several progressive initiatives to put her community at the forefront of sustainable environmental leadership.

I’m learning all the time,” says this mother of four in a recent interview. Her workstation in the Band office is surrounded by posters promoting the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Betty Googoo searches online for environmental education games for Paqtnkek youth.

Back then I knew nothing about recycling. Everything just went into the trash. So when others asked me about recycling, I went and found the Band manual and said ‘Okay crew, here we go…

Since that humble beginning, Googoo has been instrumental in getting funding through the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq’s ‘Mi’kmawey Green Communities Program’. The program offers pilot projects and works with communities to become greener, cleaner and more sustainable.

First, a new compost shed was built recently near the Health Centre to convert organics into compost for the community garden.

This will help us grow vegetables for our own use here on the reserve, or the compost can be used in flower beds,” she says. “Why not do this for ourselves? It just makes sense.

The Band’s new compost station near the Health Centre and community garden.


Betty was very enthusiastic about the composting initiative,” says Kate Nelson, project manager of the Mi’kmawey Green Communities Program.

She worked closely with our research and education officers to not only understand the composting process, but also to recommend a site for the compost station. Plus, she is providing leadership helping community members sort plastics, glass, paper and regular garbage. Her enthusiasm is contagious.

Just across Highway #4, Googoo takes me on a tour of a long-abandoned sawmill. It’s where she hopes the Band will build a modern ‘divert station’ for bulky waste such as old fridges, stoves, tires and hazardous materials. For safety reasons, it would be fenced-in with security cameras. Before that can happen, the huge steel beams, sheet metal and rusted machinery would have to be hauled away and sold for scrap.

Googoo tours an abandoned sawmill site that could house a future divert station for bulky and hazardous waste.

Googoo’s plans don’t stop there. She also dreams of the day when Paqtnkek will have its own recycling depot so community members would be responsible for dropping off cans and bottles.

She jokes about the occasional run-in with “a few people who still don’t get it”. It’s one reason why she enjoys hosting community meetings and workshops. She also reaches out to the younger generation by sharing age-appropriate educational materials at the Band’s pre-school.

The Confederacy’s Kate Nelson says Googoo has become a strong advocate for solid waste management at Paqtnkek.

Betty has a clear vision of how best to deliver these programs to achieve the best possible results for Paqtnkek,” says Nelson. “We are reminded of the concept of Netukulimk – to take only what is needed and waste nothing, to ensure there is something left for the next generation.

For more information on the Mi’kmawey Green Communities Program, visit


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May 15, 2017

Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation near Antigonish, Nova Scotia has been awarded a financial performance certificate that puts it in the top ten percent of the best managed First Nations in Canada.

The First Nations Financial Management Board, based in Vancouver, reviewed the band’s financial performance over a five-year period ending March 31, 2016.

This recognition is a way for First Nations to demonstrate their financial management expertise and credibility to their own members, other governments, investors and lenders. Paqtnkek joins Membertou First Nation as the second Nova Scotia band to receive this recognition in 2017.

Chief Paul (P.J.) Prosper commended the band council and staff for their diligence and commitment to meeting the national standards.

“We’ve set the bar high for financial performance and accountability,” he said. “It’s especially important as we move forward with potential development around the proposed highway interchange commercial and retail project.”

Community members vote on July 13th on the transfer of reserve lands to the province, which has committed to build and maintain the $15 million interchange project over 30 months.

Also, the Canada Revenue Agency has announced that Paqtnkek, as a public body performing a function of government in Canada, is now eligible to receive gifts from registered charities and can issue official receipts to donors.

It means individual donors can claim a tax credit, and corporate donors can claim a deduction against its taxable income. The band is now included in the Canada Revenue Agency’s public listing.

To maintain its status as a registered donee, the band must continue to meet obligations spelled out in the federal Income Tax Act.


Richard Perry
Paqtnkek Communications
Tel: 902 870-9662