Economic Development is not new to Mistawasis First Nation. It has always been based on the need to provide for the community, but also driven by a better quality of living. What culturally and historically started as being keepers of the land, grew to a trading industry, and has evolved into modern day business. It was with this mindset that Mistawasis First Nation started their journey to become a business ready entity that would provide financial stability as well as work opportunities for the Nation.
In 2011, Mistawasis First Nation made the decision to separate business from governance and applied to be part of the Business Ready Investment Development Gateway Program. The bridge program was created by INAC (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) and overseen by a group of board members from the private sector. The program chose a total of 9 First Nation Communities to become partners with in order to help them become business ready. Mistawasis First Nation was one of the nine communities chosen to be part of the program and Misty Ventures Incorporated was created.
Working from the knowledge and success of the bridge program, Mistawasis First Nation was confident in their abilities to continue to grow, and in 2013 restructured. With support and guidance from the leaders of the community, a new board was created that consisted of Mistawasis First Nation band members. From 2013 to 2015 with the new board in place, there was significant strategic planning, including incorporating and getting our financials in order, in order to truly become a business ready entity. During this time, the Chief & Council and the community elders of Mistawasis First Nation began peace talks with another nation in order to bring the tribes of Cree and Blackfoot together. With the treaty signed, Mistawasis First Nation became Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, which in translation means “good people.”
Mistawais First Nation owns 99.99% of Misty Venture LP, with Misty Ventures Limited Partnership owns .01%.
PUBLIC WORKS SLIP TANKS
The installation of slip (Fuel) tanks on reserve to provide fuel to Band Equipment was initiated by Misty Ventures in order to access rebates that were available through a First Nations Rebate Program with the Province. These rebates are going into a fund that will accumulate and be utilized for future improvements and expenditures for operating the slip tanks. This is monitored and operating through Mistawasis First Nations Public Works. This may not be a large project but the intent has been to ensure to capture the rebate as over a period of time we will see the benefits.
Misty Ventures is now very close to making a reality of a first initial Business operating on Lucier Property. The intent as shared with community members in the community consultations is the development of a Gas Station and Store.
All the preliminary work is being completed with submission of the final proposal to AANDC for support of some funding to assist with construction. This project is estimated to cost in the range of 2.6 million dollars that includes construction and turn key operation. Misty Ventures will be dealing with the Financing of the project anticipating good news from AANDC to move ahead. We have most recently received communication that Misty Ventures is in good standings with our submission and should have the final announcement this month in June. We will be proceeding with the project to build.
Misty Ventures had to work diligently to prepare feasibility studies, business plans, environmental studies, legal, financial, and the Head Lease process in order to get where we are as of June 2015. The Head Lease, sub lease, finalizing financing, and selecting the project manager for construction are the last stages. These are almost completed with some short delays, but we anticipate before June 30, 2015 we will have the project ready to start.
This project will be on the east side of the highway just north of Leask , SK. The entity is named Misty Petroleum at this stage.
Dalmeny property has now been officially turned into reserve status. Prior to reserve status Misty Ventures completed some very important preliminary task. Most recently now we have gone into the environmental stage of getting a Geo Tech completed that will tell Misty Ventures what are some opportunities based on the soil and ground on the entire 80 acres. For example this study will tell us where buildings can and cannot be built because of water level or ground soil.
Misty Ventures also will engage in a contract with a firm to complete a full feasibility study that will also assist with what to develop on the land. This is more from the business opportunities on what the existing and future market can sustain for the geographical area. Once the feasibility study is complete this summer of 2015, Misty Ventures will give direction to a project manager assigned to the Dalmeny property to proceed with the business plan and development.
Based on some interim reports and updates it is more feasible to work towards an Industrial and Commercial development on a good portion of the property. There has been some positive enquires as to when the development the land from the commercial aspect which does indicate there could be a demand. Due diligence will be conducted in conjunction with the project manager.
The intent was to look at residential but we want to ensure the infrastructure like water and sewer is viable first and access to revenue to build that infrastructure is available. This is not off the plan at this stage but does take more due diligence work to ensure Misty Ventures is planning properly for the best residential development. We also have to continue looking at the leasing process when it involves residential, and work with our Lands Department and Aboriginal Affairs.
Some initial planning has occurred with mapping for the property that is designated land west of main reserve near the lakes and the forest. The mapping and concept gave a visual of some great ideas that included:
- Golf Course
- Cultural Village
- Recreational area
In consultation with Chief and Council Misty Ventures has done a request for proposal on getting a Feasibility Study done on the over 9000 acres to ensure proper planning occurs with Market research.
We have not proceeded with plans for this property, as the priority has been with the first 3 areas.
The intent is to follow the same steps as the other projects with determining what are some potential opportunities that may work. Once that is identified we can pursue the feasibility study that will gather the data required to move forward.
This land is designated and we are wanting to ensure due process
The first priority for the Board was to get Corporation and entities in order with completion of Financial Statements, Annual Returns, legal, Tax Returns, GST Returns, Banking, and Accounting Services. Then Chief and Council worked to ensure plans are in sync with the Community development plans.
Working together as a team with leadership and other departments in Mistawasis, there is a push to move forward with future opportunities such as: land designations, head lease process, First Nation Tax Commission, and financial management. This will lead to opportunities for Misty Ventures to develop Businesses on the selected lands the community wanted to use for development that include: Dalmeny, Lucier, West of Main Reserve, and Galloway.