A new certification for Long Plain First Nation means access to a large capital fund in the realm of $50-$80 million.
And that means Long Plain can continue with its strong economic vision by allowing the First Nation to facilitate its economic development projects.
“With that kind of money, we can follow through with some projects that have been on the table for a long time,” Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said. “I believe this spring and summer, we will see some big economic projects undertaken by Long Plain First Nation.
Meeches says those projects include the construction of a hotel, truck stop and office building urban reserves in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie as well as beginning to look at the Kapyong Barracks.
“That’s the next big project,” Meeches said of Kapyong. “I think it’s a game-changer for urban reserves across the country. That’s been our game plan from Day 1.”
Meeches, who is in his second stint as Chief, says Long Plain has long demonstrated its financial management expertise and its financial strength as a First Nation on the road the certification.
That road began in 2008 but fell off the table until 2013 when Meeches won a by-election to become chief for the second time. A renewed effort for certification began a year later in 2014.
The First Nations Financial Management Board reviewed the band’s financial performance over a five-year stretch, which ended in May of last year.
“It gives us a lot of credibility,” Meeches said. “These audits and reports were for our people, for transparency. And there’s been the added benefit of it being a best-business practice. We’ve taken a lead role. We have a very good model of government and financial control.”
The certification also lends its hand to more jobs, according to Meeches.
“It wouldn’t be too off the mark to say well over 100 jobs would be made in Winnipeg and in Portage,” he said. “Any of the projects we roll out, they’re going to very important to Long Plain and for economic job growth, putting Indigenous people to work and any other partnerships that are created. I think it bodes well for everyone.”
(Article courtesy of Winnipeg Sun)