LONGLAC, Ont. — With only a tiny land base, Long Lake # 58 First Nation and its 1,500 members have been constrained in finding opportunities for economic development.
Now, however, the First Nation has become more than six times larger, thanks to the completion of a process under the federal Additions to Reserves policy.
It was announced Wednesday that Long Lake # 58 has added 1,690 hectares (4,177 acres) to its current land base of only 260 hectares.
The acquisition includes mines and minerals.
The community had worked to secure a bigger land base for 45 years.
In a statement, the First Nation's leadership said the community was able to access funding to purchase the land, to develop a Lands Department, and finalize a land use plan.
It said that, together with the federal and Ontario governments, the land use plan can now be put into action.
"The additional land does bring the hope of building a stronger and healthier community," said Long Lake # 58 chief Judy Desmoulin.
Desmoulin added that it's an exciting time for her as the current Chief, "to begin the next phase of this important plan."
Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said the addition will ensure the community benefits from economic development opportunities.
"Our work together is another step in advancing reconciliation," Bennett said.
Long Lake # 58 first Nation noted that it is still involved in a land claim process which is separate from the expansion announced Wednesday.