High­way project near Paqtnkek mo­tor­ing along

Com­mu­nity ex­cited for op­por­tu­ni­ties with com­ple­tion

The Casket - - Local - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­ket.ca

There will be more job op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one on the re­serve.

Crys­tal Bernard

The Paqtnkek in­ter­change high­way project has reached its fi­nal phase and an­tic­i­pa­tion for its open­ing is grow­ing in the com­mu­nity.

“The com­mu­nity is ex­cited, a lot of peo­ple are ask­ing what is go­ing up there,” Rose Paul, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Na­tion di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said, in talk­ing to the Cas­ket Sept. 25.

Paul noted she doesn’t have the lib­erty yet to re­veal ex­actly what busi­nesses will be set­ting up shop around the ex­change, but that an­nounce­ment will be com­ing soon.

“We can’t dis­close them right now but the de­vel­op­ment [around the area] is go­ing great,” she said. “We’re all very ex­cited to fi­nal­ize these as soon as pos­si­ble, and we’ll have a pub­lic an­nounce­ment for ev­ery­one.

“I have told them [res­i­dents ask­ing] ev­ery­thing we’ve been hop­ing for is go­ing there … a lot of new jobs.”

The work has al­ready pro­vided jobs for Paqtnkek res­i­dents and that will con­tinue with the es­tab­lish­ment of busi­nesses around the in­ter­change. Chief Paul ‘PJ’ Pros­per said it has been, and will con­tinue to be, great for the com­mu­nity.

“It’s go­ing to be rather ex­cit­ing and pro­vide huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for our com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” Pros­per said.

“With de­vel­op­ment comes op­por­tu­nity and the abil­ity of peo­ple to not only seek em­ploy­ment with ex­ist­ing busi­nesses but also to take on a role of an en­tre­pre­neur. To have a ba­sis for them to pur­sue their dreams is some­thing we are re­ally look­ing for­ward to.”

Dustin Pic­tou was one of the Paqtnkek res­i­dents who did bridge con­struc­tion work for the in­ter­change.

“It’s go­ing to be a big help,” he said of the project.

“It’s go­ing to be good for the econ­omy; bring a bunch of jobs here.”

Fel­low res­i­dents Fred Syl­li­boy and Crys­tal Bernard agree.

“A lot more money com­ing in, dif­fer­ent shops, and more traf­fic go­ing through … that is what you need here,” Syl­li­boy said, talk­ing to the Cas­ket while en­joy­ing the re­cent Pow­wow in his com­mu­nity.

“There will be more job op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one on the re­serve,” Bernard said. “It’s hard to get work off the re­serve, so this will bring more job op­por­tu­ni­ties right here.”

Syl­li­boy said his one con­cern with all the con­struc­tion near the com­mu­nity was the dis­rup­tion for the wildlife.

“It’s too bad,” he said, “The foxes, skunks … all of our an­i­mals.”

Skill de­vel­op­ment

Paul said res­i­dents are pol­ish­ing up their skills and re­sumes in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the work op­por­tu­ni­ties com­ing to Paqtnkek.

“Get­ting ready to part of the de­vel­op­ment for us,” she said. “And the ex­cited is not just for this com­mu­nity, but all of Antigo­nish in gen­eral.”

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