Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Wilf Adam says LBN has two exciting new projects that are expected to be completed this spring.
One of these projects is a natural resources building, which will house approximately 20 offices, two board rooms and an archive room.
Located near The Pines, the building will be used by LBN’s natural resources staff, who work with government and industry on issues that affect the nation such as forestry.
Chief Adam says forestry is one of the most important issues affecting LBN, and an essential part of the 25-year agreement currently being negotiated with the province. He says “a lot is at stake” with that agreement.
The 25-year agreement includes other benefits such as new cultural centres in each LBN community, and a 2000-seat multiplex at Woyenne. These buildings are still in the planning stages.
The landmark agreement, which was originally expected to be completed by December 2016, is now expected to be in place by May 2018.
The $1.7 million natural resources building is partially being funded by the provincial government, which is contributing $950,000 toward the project. The remainder of the cost will covered by LBN.
Another project that Chief Adam is excited about is a triplex. Located in the Woyenne community, the new building is expected to accommodate six families.
The building is intended to help alleviate LBN’s current housing shortage, which is due to a growing population. But according to Chief Adam, the triplex won’t be enough.
“There’s a need in all three communities [Woyenne, Tachet and Fort Babine] and we are working to create more buildings in all three,” he said.
Although LBN will charge rent for the new units, the nation says the rent “won’t be substantial.”
The triplex is partially being funded by the federal government, which will pay $1.6 million of the $1.9 million project.
Chief Adam says partnerships with the provincial and federal government are part of a “new way of doing business.”
“A lot of the issues we face have federal jurisdiction, so we need them at the table,” he said. “I’m feeling quite optimistic.”
Chief Adam has recently been appointed to the Assembly of First Nations’ economic development committee, which looks at all aspects of economic development across Canada. He is currently in Montreal - where NAFTA negotiations are taking place - attending his second meeting as part of this committee.