MILLBROOK - With construction set to get underway in less than three weeks, the federal government has chipped in on the new Millbrook hotel project to the tune of $1 million.
Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, was on hand at the Glooscap Heritage Centre on Saturday morning to make the announcement before the opening ceremonies of National Aboriginal Day.
It's a project Armstrong has been working towards since he was first elected to Parliament in 2009, he said.
"It's been a long time in the works, as Chief (Bob) Gloade and I both know," he said. "These things take time, but today we're ready to take a big step forward with the project."
The funding will go towards the construction process, which will be contracted out to Lindsay Construction in Dartmouth.
"While there's construction going on, we have all these tradespeople who otherwise might not be employed involved in the development," Armstrong said. "There will be spinoff jobs and spinoff opportunities. Then when the project starts, you'll have longterm, secure jobs in the community. That's what this is all about."
The hotel will employee upwards of 15 staff, with several members of the Millbrook community already having a leg up.
"We have several members here previously trained in hotel and hospitality in the past," Gloade said. "Those individuals will get a chance for re-employment in the facilitiy. Also we're looking at creating employment not only for our community, but for the town of Truro and Colchester County."
The number of construction jobs will vary over the 11-month building project, but should remain around a minimum of 50-100, Gloade said. The band is working with Lindsay Construction and economic development officers to ensure as many First Nations employees as possible are hired.
"There's no set number, but we are working to hire as many First Nations people who are interested, qualified and capable of doing the job," he said.
In total, the project will cost $13 million, split between several partners, with the major partners being Millbrook First Nation and Driftwood Hospitality Management - a hotel management company that operates and develops hotels in the U.S. with affiliates in the Caribbean and Latin America. The company's current portfolio consists of nearly 40 hotels and more than 8,000 rooms in major resort destinations and top business travel and convention markets in 12 U.S. states, the Bahamas and Costa Rica.