Glooscap First Nation business project to bring stores, hotel, market

The Glooscap First Nation, near Hantsport, N.S., is planning a new business development that could transform the small reserve.

Three-phase business venture could bring 150-300 jobs to reserve near Hantsport, N.S.

Glooscap First Nation has purchased land next to Highway 101 Exit 8A at Hantsport. Glooscap Landing will be a smaller version of Millbrooks Power Centre off Highway 102 near Truro. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The Glooscap First Nation, near Hantsport, N.S., is planning a new business development that could transform the small reserve.

Glooscap Landing is a project that would see an 11 hectare parcel of land near Highway 101 commercially developed.

"We're excited, it's something new to us," said Glooscap First Nation Chief Sidney Peters about the band taking on a large-scale business venture. 

"We have a long-term vision on where we want to see our community go and we want to see Glooscap and the surrounding communities move forward."

Peters says Glooscap Landing would be a three-phase project built near Exit 8A in Hantsport.

It would be an aggressive undertaking for the small reserve with a population near 300.

Phase one will see the construction of a gas bar with a convenience store and coffee shop.  

"The infrastructure for that, particularly the clearing, we hope to start in late fall of this year," said Peters. "We're hoping to make an arrangement with a gas company who might be interested in working with us."

Peters says he hopes phase one can be complete in a year's time.

Potential for job creation

The other two phases in the project would see a hotel built, in addition to a market that could become a new cultural centre.

The development would be a significant employer in the area.

"We're hoping we can have anywhere from 150 to 300 jobs for the local community," said Peters. "That's the big thing we're looking for is employment and economic development."

Although on a much smaller scale, the commercial development would be modelled after Millbrook's Power Centre, built alongside Highway 102 on the outskirts of Truro.

A design layout for Glooscap Landing. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Peters says the success of that development, as well as some of the work being done on the Membertou reserve in Cape Breton, pushed his administration to forge their plan.

Some big changes have been made in the band's administration and how it's being operated.

In 2010, a previous leadership team made national headlines when it was revealed that its chief — Shirley Clarke, the sister of current chief Sidney Peters — earned a $243,000 salary.

Two councillors made $200,000 each, and another took in nearly $1 million in compensation when work paid to his business was factored in.