The agreement provides for the establishment of a strategic committee to facilitate negotiations between the two parties on issues such as protected areas, forests, consultation and economic development. Quebec is also injecting $ 10 million over four years into an economic spinoff fund for mining activity, which will be used for the economic and social development of Pikogan.
“After lengthy and fruitful negotiations, we have found a common ground that will help us in terms of consultations, which will also help us in terms of economic growth and which will also provide the community with a way to achieve its ambitions. It’s super positive, it gives stability and predictability to the region. Everyone should be happy with this announcement, “said the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière.
At Pikogan, we accepted this agreement, even though we determined that there was still a lot of work to be done.
” For us, this is a concrete move in vision to start a new relationship between our country and the government of Quebec. This is a first step towards a more lasting change that will help us in the longer term. »
Minister Lafrenière: ” the work not finished yet »
Minister Lafrenière recognized from the beginning that this was only a first step.
“When we talk about a country-to-country agreement, I don’t want people to see that as an end. This is a start. We clearly set the parameters, but here we continue to work together. It’s not over yet, the work not finished. I will make a comparison with a house: we lay a very good foundation, there, we can think of building a strong house, ”he said.
Ian Lafrenière recalled that this was the third country-to-country agreement announced by his government, after one in the Lac-Barrière community for the forest last year, and one in the country Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk earlier this month. in June.
There will be many more coming out soon.he assured.
Monik Kistabish seeks to consult with the economic development department and community members about the use of the economic spinoff fund. But according to him, everyone agrees that business development should be a priority.
I think we all agree on that. Communities are very limited in terms of surface area, and one thing we don’t have here in Abitibiwinni is the commercial zone for land for entrepreneurs. This is something we want to prioritize, because we have entrepreneurs who have their own businesses, but they don’t have a place to put their head offices.he said.
Chicobi Lake is protected
The agreement also provides for the creation of a protected area of almost 225 square kilometers in the sector of Lac Chicobi, desired by the Abitibiwinni First Nation. This territory is associated with the community historically and culturally. Pikogan also bought the infrastructure at Camp-École Chicobi in 2020 [La communauté de Pikogan achète les installations du Camp École-Chicobi].
“The first request was denied. We are excited that Lake Chicobi will be part of the protected areas from now on. We bought the infrastructure of the former Camp-École Chicobi. We also have families whose family territory is this, where they were born. We are happy that this area has been protected, ”Chief Kistabish said.