The K’awat’si Economic Development General Partner Corporation (KEDC), a company founded to grow opportunities for the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations (GNN), has announced two major projects, and the investment of millions of dollars, in Port Hardy.
GNN has purchased the Port Hardy Inn and plans to transform it into the region’s premier First Nations-owned, operated and themed four-star destination hotel, offering high-end amenities and services for North Island visitors and residents.
GNN will also be opening a new cold storage facility for fish and seafood will be constructed this Spring to serve the growing need on the North Island, led by the K’awat’si Economic Development General Partner Corporation (KEDC), a company founded to grow opportunities for the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations (GNN). The 2.2 million pound capacity facility, to be located at Port Hardy’s old mall site, will be built by the k’awat’si Construction Company and is set to begin operations in time for the summer sport fishing season.
The new facility will meet the North Island’s growing demand for cold storage, which is currently 10 million pounds short of meeting capacity needs.
It will also serve as a processing facility, with the potential to add specialty processing or shellfish deprivation as services on site. Deprivation is when shellfish are placed in clean water to flush out their systems. “Our council is very proud of what KEDC has begun to accomplish in terms of new opportunities for our community in such a short time, this project is just one of many exciting initiatives we will be announcing this year,” said Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Chief Paddy Walkus. “We hope that this will continue as those in BC and across the country begin to catch on to the momentum building here on the North Island.”
KEDC Chief Executive Officer Conrad Browne agrees this project is an exciting step forward for the community.
“As KEDC, our commitment is to building a strong, growth-focused community by undertaking innovative ventures that demonstrate that the GNN are serious about doing business.
“This venture is just one stage in a multi-stage approach that will see us participate in every step of the fishing cycle, in a sustainable way, something that is critically important to our community,” said Brown.
“We are looking forward to working collaboratively with Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish Inc. at the site on fish processing and continuing to work with Coast Opportunity Funds and CIBC, who helped ensure we were ready to undertake this new initiative,” he said.
KEDC has created an agreement with successful local fish processors Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish Inc. to provide key seafood services under lease at the site.
“This project has been three years in the making and we’re very excited to see the project become a reality. The facility will be impactful, creating opportunities for the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw community and providing much-needed services to the North Island,” said Bruce Dirom, President and CEO of Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish Inc. Keltic Seafoods has committed to being one of the new facility’s first committed customers. “This was a natural fit for us in terms of a mutually-beneficial venture that will not only assist us in expanding our own capacity, but will help position the northern coastal communities to be able to capitalize on future growth,” said Mickey Flanagan, Keltic’s chief executive officer.
“We are pleased to see the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw taking a greater role in leading the way in providing, reliable, knowledgeable and local seafood services and we are proud to be a part of this journey,” Flanagan said.
A second phase of development is being contemplated for the site that could see an additional more than two million pounds of storage realized in the coming years.
More information about these projects and other KEDC initiatives, is available on the KEDC website at www.kedc.com.