Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation has made a deal that community leaders hope will help them cut through bureaucratic red tape.
The First Nation community reached a deal with the federal government and created a framework agreement on how the community manages its lands. The agreement will reduce government involvement for development of the community’s land and allow projects, such as the multimillion-dollar pellet plant, to move along faster.
Chief Paul Gladu said they are the only First Nation community in Northern Ontario to have this framework agreement with the federal government. He said it took about a year for them to reach the deal.
“It’s a historical day for us,” Gladu said Monday.
“It’s a great opportunity that we don’t have to go through a longer process, which is land designation through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. It’s a two year process and this process is far quicker. It’s no different than what the city has. It means less red tape when working with the bureaucrats.”
He said he hoped the first project – a sawmill – will be up by this summer.
Wilfred King, executive director of operations, said the reason why so few communities don’t have these kinds of agreements is because it takes funding from the government to make it happen.
What normally takes two years can take as long as two weeks, he added.
“The reason why this isn’t more common is that it only started about 20 years ago,” King said. “Most of the First Nations in British Columbia have taken advantage of this. One of the issues is there’s funding attached to this. It would be nice if every community could do this but not every community is at the stage of development Bingwi Neyaashi is at.”