Rose Paul has garnered a national award for her work in community economic development.
During the recent CANDO (Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers) conference and annual general meeting, the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation economic development officer was named Economic Developer of the Year.
“It is a great honour and I am glad to bring it home to Paqtnkek and the [Antigonish] County,” she said.
She noted the recognition helps raise awareness of the great things taking place in Paqtnkek.
Municipality of the County of Antigonish Warden Owen McCarron, who attended the conference and participated in a panel discussion, praised Paul for the recognition.
“It was quite exciting to be there to see her win that national award,” he said.
Paul has been a key contributor to the ongoing Highway 104 Paqtnkek Interchange Project.
“I was asked to do a 20-minute presentation on the story of that project, and the 10 years working on that,” she said of her participation in the Fredericton gathering.
Paul talked about the “progression of the work” with the initiative.
“We have identified an area where we are looking at our commercial opportunities,” she said.
“It was nice to tell the story – how it unfolded – and, of course, the really strong partnerships developed through the project.”
She added it was also an opportunity to celebrate “the hard work of leadership” over the past decade in Paqtnkek.
“It is a relief,” Paul said, with a laugh, when asked about the development of the project.
“But, it is also, now, going from 10 miles an hour to 100 miles an hour. There are a lot of things that need to be done really quickly.”
She added the importance of having “proper mechanisms in place” in securing finances and developing partnerships.
“It was a lot to see the earth moving,” Paul said, after a pause, in commenting on the recent start of construction at the interchange location.
“It was a highlight to see the other side of the community – actually to walk the land and to see the accessibility to it – our south side property that we had been severed from for more than 60 years.
“It was really nice to be able to, kind of, start to see that vision even further,” she added.
Paul said community members have “played a critical role.”
“There is a lot of buzz about what we can put there,” she said, noting they are going through potential tenants at this point in the process.
“We are reviewing who and what will be the best anchor tenant for our development.”