Kingsclear First Nation

Kingsclear First Nation in running for national community of the year award

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Kingsclear First Nation

Kingsclear convenience store/gas bar

Some progressive projects have put New Brunswick’s Kingsclear First Nation into the spotlight.

Kingsclear is one of two finalists for this year’s Cando community of the year award. The winner and runner-up will be chosen at this year’s Cando Conference in the fall.

The conference, organized by Cando, which promotes economic development in Indigenous communities across Canada, will be staged Oct. 27-30 in Gatineau, Que.

“It’s nice to be recognized on a national level,” said Sydney Paul, who is in her third year working as the economic development officer for the Kingsclear First Nation. “Our leadership takes a lot of pride in the projects we move forward.”

The Kingsclear First Nation has about 1,100 members. About 800 of these members live on the First Nation.

While the fact her First Nation has been nominated for a national award is exciting, Paul said what makes her community stand out is the fact its leaders are willing to listen, learn and share with others.

“What we do is we look at other communities – how they are doing and what they are doing to move things forward,” said Paul, who is in her third year of working as the Kingsclear First Nation’s EDO. “We all learn from each other by exchanging best practices.”

Paul, who is now 30, began working for her First Nation as a youth prevention worker after earning her Business degree from the University of New Brunswick. Before becoming its EDO, Paul also worked as the Kingsclear band manager.

A project Paul as well other Kingsclear representatives have been keenly following is the announcement the province will be doing something significantly with the nearby Mactaquac Dam, which generates about one-fifth of New Brunswick’s power demands.

“It’s still at the negotiating table,” Paul said. “They’re waiting for a lot of the approvals.”

Options include building a new dam, refurbishing the old one or simply decommissioning the existing dam. All three choices would provide significant opportunities for Kingsclear First Nation.

Kingsclear has also been benefitting from the fact its convenience store, Wulastukw Convenience, relocated to its present location adjacent to New Brunswick’s Route 102 highway, in July of 2017. A new gas bar and a gaming centre at the location have added to the community’s revenues.

Kingsclear officials are also working towards adding more businesses to the site.

“We’re trying to make it more visible,” Paul said.