The P.E.I. government announced a substantial contribution Wednesday to a planned commercial and office complex on the Charlottetown waterfront that will be owned by the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.
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The province will contribute $2.2 million towards the construction costs. Previous cost estimates have been between $2 million and $3 million.
Premier Wade MacLauchlan said meeting with Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit First Nation and Chief Matilda Ramjattan of the Lennox Island First Nation helped bring the project to fruition.
"On this one, I've spent a lot of time directly with the chiefs, and the three of us have spent time together," said MacLauchlan, who is also the minister for aboriginal affairs.
"That has been an important contributor of us reaching this historic agreement we're signing today."
In addition to retail and office space, the planned three-storey building would contain a cultural centre and a space for program and service delivery for Indigenous peoples.
"The government had an interest in letting go of those properties, we have an interest in being accommodated for those properties. We came together and made an arrangement, and that's what we have today," said Francis.
"It's a huge step forward for both First Nations."
Chief Matilda Ramjattan of Lennox Island First Nation said the development, planned for near the corner of Water and Hillsborough streets, would provide stable, long-term revenue for both First Nations governments.
"As far as government and First Nations go, it hasn't always been a positive thing. But we're heading in the right direction," she said.
"It is a stepping stone."