Gull Bay First Nation chief Wilfred King speaks to media on Jan. 18, 2013.
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The cash strapped Gull Bay First Nation will be receive more than a million dollars in aid from the federal government.
Chief Wilfred King and Gull Bay's band council met with officials from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Friday to discuss the community's financial struggles.
Financial problems, believed by King to be caused by mismanagement by the previous chief and council, forced many social services within the community to be shut down including emergency services and the school.
Aboriginal Affairs will provide nearly $1 million to get those essential services back up and running. The federal government will also provide $240,000 from Health Canada.
King said he’s happy with the results.
“The community will be up and running Monday morning,” he said. “These are funds that were being held back and monies that were earmarked for Gull Bay First Nation. We’ve agreed to come up with an menial plan. We’re in the process of getting the community back in order.”
When King was elected as chief in 2002, the community was under third-party management. King said he brought the community out of debt and away from third-party management two years ago.
King returned to the First Nation after winning the election Sunday and found that only $80,000 was left in the First Nation’s coffers. But even that amount was diminished as $45,000 worth of cheques were recently cashed.
Officials with Aboriginal Affairs had asked for the audit report on the community’s finances between 2011 and 2012.
So far, that report hasn’t been completed.
King said they filed audit reports every year except for the period when he was out of office. Aboriginal Affairs officials agreed to forego the audit but King said they will still be providing one.
Gwendoline King, a band councillor with the community, supported King’s move to declare a state of emergency. Making that move will start the ball rolling on getting those essential services back, she said.
“It’s pretty sad how the previous council managed the community,” she said.
“They hurt a lot of people in the community. It’s pretty bad in our community. There’s no school, there’s no health services. It’s pretty bad. We have no employees and all the councillors have taken responsibility for all the small areas.”
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