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Paqtnkek Council passes public health bylaw to manage pandemic response


May 20, 2020 – Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation now has its own bylaw available to protect the health and safety of community members.

Chief and council have approved the Public Health Bylaw, which is based on the public safety provisions of section 81 of the Indian Act. It gives the Chief and council the power to issue orders to limit the spread of communicable diseases. Penalties can also be imposed against anyone who violates the bylaw.

“Indigenous communities have historically been exposed to greater risks from communicable diseases,“ said Chief Paul (PJ) Prosper. “This bylaw lets us create our own unique solutions to further protect our small community of only 135 households.”

Council can issue a blanket order (see list) or a directive to any person, business or organization deemed to be creating a health risk. Possible measures could include any or all of the following:

–  Mandatory curfew within defined hours;

–  An order or directive to endorse provisions in the Nova Scotia Health Protection Act, Federal Quarantines Act or Emergency Measures Act;

–  Checkpoints at entrances and exits to reserve land to restrict traffic from visitors, non-Band members or non-residents;

– A full lockdown of the community;

– Administrative action against a person or business deemed to be in contravention of the bylaw.

Anyone who fails to comply with an order or directive could face penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000, up to 30 days in jail, or both. The bylaw was written in consultation with the local detachment of the RCMP.

Community members can read the full text of the bylaw on the Paqtnkek website under the Notices section. A copy will be distributed to each household, posted throughout the community and shared via social media.


Media contact:

Richard Perry
(902) 870-9662


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April 3, 2020

Chief Paul (PJ) Prosper

Dear community member,

I want to thank each and every one of you for joining us in the fight against this terrible COVID-19 virus. As the numbers climb daily, I join our Grand Chief Norman Sylliboy, the Assembly of Nova Chiefs, Premier Stephen McNeil and others in urging you to stay at home, limit outside travel, avoid large gatherings, maintain a six-foot distance from others, wash your hands frequently and sanitize your surroundings. It is critical, especially to the health of our elders and other vulnerable community members. We are following the lead of health experts around the world. I want to share some of the important work being done on your behalf.

Thank you,
Chief Paul (PJ) Prosper
April 3, 2020

The health centre is currently closed to the public. All messages are checked regularly throughout the day. If immediate assistance is needed, please contact Juliana Julian at 902-338-0678. You can use the health center if you need a phone to make an appointment or to have your doctor appointment over the phone. To book a room, please message the Paqtnkek health center on its Facebook page or contact Juliana Julian at 902-338-0678.

We have arranged for a driver who will be available to pick up prescriptions and drop them off at your door. We are currently exploring other options to help you get to and from appointments. Health Canada has provided guidelines for transporting patients to and from appointments during this pandemic.

The health centre is ordering supplies to create oral health packages for each household.

Health Canada has allowed pharmacists to fill open prescriptions such as Tylenol and Advil for adults or children. Please can contact the drug store directly with your request and our medical driver can pick up the prescription and deliver it to you.

Our community health promotion and prevention worker Kathleen Denny will be working hard to develop some fun and family orientated activities for community members. She will also be starting a separate Facebook page which will offer incentives for participants.

We have coverage for all community members and staff to seek out mental health clinical support. Contact any of the following clinicians and let them know that you’re a Paqtnkek community member or staff member and they can set up an appointment by phone, text or video chat with you. (adults) Tiana Fusco 902-754-4632 or Tammy Kontuk 902-759-4410, (youth) Doreen Shadbolt (parent support/youth) Wendy Digout 902-863-3002 or

24/7 telephone crisis intervention is available for Paqtnkek children, youth and adults. Call (902) 429-8167 or toll-free 1-888-429-8167. Our two community clinicians Michelle Lebrun and Emily Larson-Ure are continuing to see clients by phone and online video conferencing. For addiction support, call Mike Taylor at 902-870-4922 or message him on Facebook.

At this time, we are providing very limited home care services to our clients who either live alone or have very limited access to family members who can help them. Health Canada has provided guidelines for our workers to follow while delivering home care services. Home care clients must help keep our staff safe by practicing social isolation and discontinue unnecessary trips into Antigonish.

We are making bulk purchases of non-perishable foods and basic supplies in case we need to deliver emergency supplies to families.

We have ordered 50 sets of bedding and other supplies in the event that we need to use the gym or other location as a comfort centre if St. Martha’s Hospital reaches full capacity.

Chief and council issued a directive for all independent sellers to close, effective March 29th. This is to reduce the flow of outside traffic into our community. Signs will be put up with this notice.

Gas Bar is an essential service. Hours of Operation effective April 2, 2020 will be from 8 am to 8 pm. Although it is full-service during this pandemic, customers must still go inside to pay for their gas.

Due to the significant loss of revenue in our Band businesses, layoff notices have been issued to some staff in the entertainment centre, tobacco store, daycare, health centre and band administration.

We have met with fisheries staff to discuss delayed openings for the oyster harvesting and lobster fishery. Discussions are ongoing with DFO and impacted communities on the overall fishery industry and more updates to come.

All cheques, including rations, are delivered from the gym. We limit the number of clients inside at any one time and follow all health protocols, including physical distancing. E-transfers are being looked at for those clients who request it. They will need to supply proper banking information and sign waivers to give their approval.

If conditions permit later this month, we might be able to offer diesel card lock services to truckers and limited convenience store operations. Current safety protocols mean we will need to postpone an official public opening ceremony. A business continuity plan, hiring and training plan and cash flow forecasts are also taking place.

To limit personal contact with visitors, we have distributed signs in Mi’kmaq/English to be displayed at homes of some of our more vulnerable members. Please read and respect their requests. To order a sign please contact the health center and leave a message or call Juliana Julian 902-338-0678 or Emily Peter-Paul 902-867-7003.

All provincial court proceedings are done over the phone. If you need a phone to take part in a proceeding, please contact the health centre and leave a message by phone or inbox message or contact a member of council and we can arrange for you to get a phone.

The due date for filing individual income tax returns has been extended to June 1, 2020. Most taxation services are asking clients to mail in their forms, and they will contact you once they are completed.

Health Canada has provided our frontline health workers with gloves, gowns and masks to use while delivering services to community members.

Our local suppliers are working on getting individual hand sanitizers for each household.

All repairs/renovations that require workers inside homes are put on hold until after Covid-19.

We are meeting daily with Paqtnkek emergency committees, other Chiefs and other levels of government to stay on top of developments. We are closely monitoring the extra expenditures made to help us manage this crisis and will seek appropriate compensation from other levels of government.

Along with Health Director Juliana Julian, we are using video and community radio to provide regular updates on our pandemic planning. If you have a question you would like addressed during our live broadcasts, please email or send to me or any councilor.

*I encourage you to visit our website at for a list of current announcements, resources and important notices. Also, please follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts for up-to-the-minute announcements.

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Bayside Development Corporation and Natural Forces secure a solar energy power purchase agreement for
Bayside Travel Centre

Renewable energy project to promote solar energy at the new Bayside Travel Centre on Highway 104

Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Nova Scotia – On behalf of Paqtnkek First Nation’s Bayside Development Corporation, renewable energy developer Natural Forces has secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with NS Power Inc. This agreement allows for the sale of renewable energy generated from the proposed 75 kW solar photovoltaic system, which will be located on the roof of the new Bayside Travel Centre at the new Highway 104 interchange at Exit 32-B.

This will be the community’s third renewable energy project, following their successful bid for a similar 20-year Power Purchase Agreement last year for a 72 kW solar system and the Amherst Community Wind Project, which was jointly developed by Natural Forces and the 13 Mi’kmaq Bands of Nova Scotia, including Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation.

“Natural Forces and Paqtnkek First Nation have been working together on solar energy projects for the past couple of years and we are pleased to have succeeded in securing a second Power Purchase Agreement!” says Roby Douglas of Natural Forces.

“Our business model focuses on developing renewable energy projects in partnership with organizations and communities across Canada. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work alongside Chief Paul Prosper, Bayside Development Corporation’s CEO Rose Paul, the councilors of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the Bayside Travel Centre project team over at HATCH. Natural Forces is thrilled to work with such an experienced, professional group to move this project forward!”

The Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Pilot Program, which was run from 2017 to 2019, allowed eligible community entities such as Municipalities, First Nations, Universities, and Not for Profit organizations to secure long-term power purchase agreements with Nova Scotia Power.

CEO Rose Paul, Bayside Development Corporation:

“This project will be an exciting addition to Bayside Development Corporation’s new Travel Centre, and a key piece in our vision to have the Bayside Travel Centre be an eco-friendly rest-stop for people traveling to and from Cape Breton. The revenue that is generated from this project will support our economic development initiatives for the next 20+ years. As a community, we are incredibly proud to be a part of the growing movement towards providing a sustainable future for our Band members and Nova Scotians in general.”

This project will provide up to 115,000 kWh of clean, emission-free power and will displace up to 88,700 pounds of coal annually.

The project is owned entirely by the Bayside Development Corporation and will be constructed and commissioned by Natural Forces. Bayside Development Corporation is the business arm of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation in northeastern Nova Scotia. Natural Forces is a maritime-owned renewable energy company with over 80 years of combined experience and has deployed countless renewable energy projects around the world.

Roby Douglas; Natural Forces
Tel: (902) 422 9663

CEO Rose Paul, Bayside Development Corporation
Tel: (902) 386-2781

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Nitap group poses with their wood making projects.


On a Tuesday evening earlier this fall, the growing crowd in the community gym at Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation was all smiles.

Amid the spirited conversations, community members gathered around tables to work on crafts and other creative projects. It’s part of a 12-week Nitap (friendship) program headed by Karla Stevens in collaboration with the Paqtnkek Community Health Center, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish Recreation department and volunteers.

Community Support

“We ran the program for 19 weeks until it ended this past June,” says Stevens, who is also from Paqtnkek. “Now, with the help of a $10,000 donation from Peace by Chocolate entrepreneur Tareq Hadhad and $3,000 from Sustainable Antigonish, we’re able to meet for six weeks in each of the next four seasons.”

In fact, a portion of the proceeds from Hadhad’s ‘Nitap Bar’ – created especially for Paqtnkek – helps raise funds to continue the program without government support.

Peace by Chocolate Nitap bars.


Chief Paul (PJ) Prosper says the Band’s leadership is proud of what the program has become. “It has brought together community members on a variety of projects. It represents an excellent collaboration with our neighbours and community organizers to help support community health and well-being.”

Awareness, Acceptance and Action

The weekly Nitap get-togethers are more than casual drop-in events. The program is purposefully planned to create an atmosphere of inclusion, friendship and relaxed engagement. There is an intentional focus on passing on and sharing Indigenous knowledge.

“What’s unique is that all activities are rooted in an Indigenous approach that supports a higher quality of life, resilience, spirituality and well-being,” adds Stevens.

Marie Pictou displays her drum project.


Councilor Tma Francis says it’s nice to see the smiles. “This program has been nothing but positive and successful from day one. We’re very proud of Karla, the team leads, and everyone involved.”

Stevens credits her team, which includes Juliana Julian, Frank Gallant and Heather Mayhew of Peak Experiences, Marlene Melanson and Amy-Leigh George. The Nova Scotia Mental Wellness team and the Mi’kmaq Family Treatment Centre also play important roles.

A quick look at the fall lineup shows a wide range of creative activities, including moccasin making, cutting boards, cheese boards, wooden spoons, beading pop sockets, Halloween candy, sweetgrass lids, wood-burning, gathering brush and making wreaths.

Most sessions include some form of recreational activity to help get the blood flowing and limbs moving.

Nitap session on plant care earlier this fall.


The Tuesday evening sessions at Paqtnkek are open to adults 18 years of age and older. The program also covers the cost of childcare and refreshments.

If you would like to learn more about the Nitap program, contact Karla Stevens by email at or by phone at (902) 318-5158.

Photo credits: Frank Gallant, Peak Experiences and Karla Stevens.


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Chief Paul (PJ) Prosper of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation has announced that Rose Paul is the successful applicant for the new position of Chief Executive Officer of the Bayside Development Corporation. The corporation is the Band’s business arm that will manage the development of reserve lands on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway.

“Rose has all the business and leadership credentials required to guide our long-term economic development,” said Chief Prosper. “She has committed herself for more than a decade to helping our community grow – including the construction of the $13.5 million Trans Canada Highway interchange at exit 36-B, which opens up direct access to our community and will bring significant traffic to our new Bayside Travel Centre.”

Darryl McDonald, director of administration, says the hiring committee worked diligently to find the right person for the position. “Rose has shown through her commitment and dedication to be the successful candidate.”

Due to weather delays this spring, construction of the $11 million travel centre is expected to be completed by October 1st.

As part of her responsibilities, Ms. Paul will help oversee Band businesses that provide own-source revenues, including fisheries, tobacco shop and gas bar operations and the entertainment centre. She will develop a five-year strategic plan that will include capacity development and provide options for the board of directors on diversifying and investing in businesses through economic development partnerships. As CEO she will report directly to the corporation’s board of directors. She continues her current responsibilities for community economic development.

Ms. Paul obtained her Masters in Business Administration from Cape Breton University and was chosen valedictorian of the inaugural Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at St. Francis Xavier University.

She has won numerous awards and recognition, including the 2017 Cando Economic Developer of the Year award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee award and the Nova Scotia Community Spirit award.


Media contact:

Richard Perry
(902) 870-9662

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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