The chief of the Sipekne'katik band says a planned development in Hammonds Plains could help pave the way to prosperity for band members.
The proposal calls for a corporate and residential development on the 54-hectare Wallace Hills site. A VLT gaming centre is the only building there right now.
Chief Rufus Copage said a hotel is part of the plan, though nothing has been finalized.
"There really wasn't much we could do until the land was designated. Now that has happened and is done, so maybe we can start moving forward with it," he said Saturday.
Band members appear to support the idea. In a vote Friday, 73 per cent of the 239 votes cast were in favour of designating the land for development.
Copage said the band would welcome discussions with any businesses that may want to set up on the reserve.
The Wallace Hills site, about an hour away from the reserve in Indian Brook, will bring the band into better financial footing, Copage added.
'We have no input'
Matt Whitman, municipal councillor for Hammonds Plains, is unhappy that non-band members don't have a say in what happens.
"They do what they want and we have no input and the folks of Hammonds Plains, in particular, would like to have some say on what we get in Hammonds Plains. This is a booming, growing neighbourhood," he said.
Hammonds Plains has several large subdivisions. The area is full of new expensive homes, and much of the area is still being developed.
Brenda Murray, a Hammonds Plains resident, is taking a wait-and-see approach.
"I guess I have nothing against it. I mean, the area is growing as such so maybe some development would be nice. It just depends on what they're planning on developing," Murray said.
Copage and his band council will begin to discuss the next steps in the development process when they meet next month.