Commercial Development

Community information on the next step in our commercial development project.

construction site

What is ‘designated’ land?

‘Designated’ land is reserve land that is set aside specifically for business/economic development. Paqtnkek can then legally lease the designated land to business partners. These are businesses that will support a strategically-located travel centre, which could include a truckers’ lounge, gas bar, restaurant, coffee shop, entertainment centre, visitor information centre, etc. Our partners would need this legal authority to operate on a specified portion of the reserve.

Are designated lands still reserve property?

YES. Even after a successful community vote, the designated land remains reserve land. A partner business that leases the land from us is basically ‘renting’ the property for a specified time, with economic benefits flowing to the community.

Why do we have to vote?

It is a requirement of the Indian Act that the community authorizes any land to be used for economic development.

Can off-reserve members vote?

Yes. The same way they were entitled to vote for the land surrender in July 2017. They will receive a mail-in ballot and a full information kit.

When will the vote be held?

Chief and Council, in consultation with INAC, have set June 7, 2018 as the date for the community vote.

What determines a successful vote?

A simple majority vote, meaning a majority of those who cast their ballots, regardless of how many do so. This is easier than the land surrender vote last summer, which required a ‘majority of the majority’ (double majority) vote.

We had to have a double-majority to surrender land for the highway project…why now just a simple majority?

The federal government acknowledges that in cases where a second vote was necessary, it impeded communities from pursuing time-sensitive economic opportunities. Removing the need for a possible second vote means we take control of economic opportunities in a more timely manner.

 What is the exact question on the ballot?

Do you agree to the designation for leasing for general commercial and light industrial purposes of the whole of lots identified as: LOT NO. 252, Plan No. 106901 CLSR, approximately 11.91 acres (4.82 hectares)”

Who will lease these designated lands?

We are in discussions now with potential businesses that would occupy Phase One of our commercial development on the south side of the TransCanada highway #104. These are confidential negotiations, but the results will be made public at an appropriate time following the designation vote.

Will there be public information sessions about the Land Designation vote?

YES. Chief PJ Prosper, the director of economic development, along with a representative of Indigenous and Northern Affair Canada will be there to answer your questions. The first community meeting is on May 10, 2018 at the Paqtnkek Gym beginning at 6:30PM. Community members have the right to ask any questions and get information about the proposed designation so they can make an informed decision. Copies of all plans and reports can be viewed at the Band Office, 7 Dillon Street or the regional office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 40 Havelock Street, Amherst, NS.

What is the legal description of the lands being designated?

The land to be designated for commercial use is Lot N. 252, Plan No. 106901 CLSR, approximately 11.91 acres (4.82 hectares). See the yellow/green triangular section in this graphic. Ignore the Lot 1-A text.

triangle 2

What will Phase One look like when developed?

Here is an artist’s rendering of the main part of Phase One, anchored by a large gas retail/truckers’ station/restaurant, etc. There is also room for a card lock diesel service and truck parking at the rear.

How much rent/lease money will the Band earn?

This is still being negotiated with potential partners. The rent for each lease cannot be less than market value, as determined by an independent appraisal. The market value as of March 2018 is $12,000 with an annual market rent value of $780.00 per year. The full appraisal report will be available on request.

Who is responsible for doing an environmental impact assessment on designated lands?

The commercial zone on the south side has already been subject to environmental assessments by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSTIR). It’s important to note that heavy industrial uses or other environmentally hazardous operations are NOT permitted on designated lands.

What are the benefits and risks of the proposed designation?

The biggest benefit is that we develop own-source revenue for our community. It will also create employment opportunities. Funds will be used to improve roads and buildings on the reserve, provide additional housing and other improvements. The more revenue we create by ourself, the less dependent we become on federal payments from Indian Affairs.

Does this affect taxation in any way?

No, Band members will continue to be tax-exempt when purchasing goods on reserve, and income earned on reserve will continue to be tax-exempt for status Indians.

Does designation affect any current land claims?

The changes that allow for a quicker designation process have no bearing whatsoever on any existing Aboriginal or treaty claims.


Link to Indian Referendum Regulations

Link to Globe and Mail article ‘Divided by a highway, a Mi’kmaq nation paves its road to a revival in Nova Scotia

Link to CBC News story ‘Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation votes in support of a $15.3 million highway interchange’

Link to CBC News story ‘First Nation cut off from half its land for 50 years hopes to get access again


Rose Paul, Director of Lands & Economic Development
Phone: (902) 386-2263

Naomi Ferdinand, Electoral Officer
Tel: (902) 661-6230

Kim Julian, Deputy Electoral Officer
Tel: (902) 386-2781