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April 21, 2008
An important step was taken today, April 21, when Premier Rodney MacDonald announced the next stage in developing the Debert Air Industrial Park, while preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Mi’kmaq in the region.Premier MacDonald made the announcement at the entrance to the Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail in the Debert Air Industrial Park. He was joined by Chief Lawrence Paul from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs; Mayor Mike Smith from the Municipality of the County of Colchester; Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations; and Karen Casey, Minister of Education.
“In Nova Scotia, strong partnerships are the underpinning of many successful ventures and initiatives — today’s announcement is no different,” said Premier MacDonald. “It demonstrates the unique relationship between the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, the province and the Municipality of the County of Colchester.”
More than 11,000 years old, Debert has the oldest dated Palaeo-Indian archaeological site in Canada. It has been recognized as a national historic site and a special place under provincial legislation.
“Today we celebrate a new relationship of reconciliation — one that has been brought about by the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process,” said Chief Lawrence Paul.
“This new partnership is the first step in Mi’kmaq self-government over cultural matters. It is also the first step in working in co-operation with our fellow governments as equals. Together, we have mutually agreed to set aside lands in Debert for a future cultural centre and lands for the future economic prosperity of the Mi’kmaq.”
Based on the spirit of partnership, while balancing economic development with the protection of Mi’kmaq culture and heritage, each party shared their vision for the future.
On March 31, the province transferred about 2,000 acres, placing the future of the Debert Air Industrial Park into the hands of the Municipality of the County of Colchester.
The province, in partnership with the Mi’kmaq, also put measures in place to protect and celebrate the archaeological importance of the area by establishing regulations to enhance the protection of potential archaeological sites. Land has also been set aside to enable the Mi’kmaq to proceed with plans for a Mi’kmaq cultural centre.
The Municipality of the County of Colchester and the Mi’kmaq have also agreed to work together to maximize the economic potential of the industrial park. In addition, the parties have agreed to set aside about 400 acres for future Mi’kmaq opportunities.
“The agreement creates great opportunity for economic success for the residents of Colchester County and for the Mi’kmaq. It is an agreement created by good discussion between the Municipality and the Assembly and is grounded in a mutual respect for each other’s goals,” said Mayor Mike Smith.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chiefs in further defining the economic future of the business park.”
Media Contacts: John Soosaar
Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative
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