A Brief Overview of Some of the Projects
Following is a brief overview of some of the projects due to be completed in a near future in Wemotaci.
In 2017, Wemotaci played host to the Indigenous Inter-Band Games, an event during which the community hosted close to 1 000 youths, aged 9 to 17. It was a great logistical challenge for the small community, and it was carried out with great success. This experience was an eye-opener for the elected representatives and Corporation Nikanik in the fact that the community realized that it has the capacity to welcome a large number of people. Given that it possesses also a particular tourism potential, it is a sector of activity that will be developed in the forthcoming years. A project is on the table to build a country inn for visitors who are passing through. Corporation Nikanik is also considering to develop the site of the old reserve where the pow-wow is being held every year, and to get a new outfitter camp.
New Home Construction
On another issue, in the past year, the Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci adopted a new housing policy. In partnership with the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ASCC), the program offers three options to community members who would be interested in becoming owners: buy the home they currently lease, lease it with option to purchase, or build a new home. Since the inception of the policy, some twenty homes or so were sold in the community.
In addition to allowing community members with an opportunity to access private property, this revision of the housing program represents an economic development opportunity. In fact, the new homes that will be sold are prefabricated models delivered in Wemotaci, in modules. By spring, a training course in carpentry will be offered in the community and the trained carpenters could build the houses directly on site in Wemotaci, which represents a business and job creation opportunity.
By the way, the apprentice carpenters will have a factory-workshop for the entire duration of their course; the workshop is established in a building that was previously owned by Hydro-Québec. At first, it will be used for the carpentry course, and then for the construction of home modules.
Mini Sawmill Project
Also in the works, is a project to build a mini sawmill, which would be carried out in partnership with Groupe Rémabec which owns a sawmill in Parent. The mini sawmill would transform wood that cannot be processed in the facilities of the Parent sawmill. Presently, this wood, graded as « sub-standard » is not being used and it rots in the sawmill lumber yard. The Wemotaci sawmill would specialize in the processing of this oversized wood, thereby avoiding that it be spoiled. This project would represent an investment of approximately 3 M$ and would create several jobs. And who knows, once the wood is processed, perhaps it could be used by the carpenters for the construction of new homes.
All the projects supported by the community are interconnected. Once implemented, these projects will generate new needs which could be met by the creation of new businesses. Private and community-based entrepreneurship will have a chance to develop and it is the population that stands to gain from this, because it will have access to more services.
Further information on the community and the “Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci” can be found at wemotaci.com.