New lakefront development underway

Nicickousemenecaning First Nation has begun the first phase of a long-term development project on the band’s reserve on Rainy Lake.
The project is located on Swell Bay, at the edge of the band’s reserve near Bear’s Pass, and is scheduled for completion next year.
Nicickousemenecaning Chief Gary Allen said Monday that the first phase consists of a new roundhouse and should be complete by the end of the year.
Subsequent development will provide for the grounds to hold pow-wows in the future, which should be completed by the end of next year.
“It’s a two-phase approach,” Chief Allen noted. “We’ll be doing the pow-wow grounds next year.”
Some residents are concerned the project might not meet Ministry of Natural Resources environmental standards for Crown land, but Chief Allen stressed the project is entirely on First Nation land.
MNR Area Supervisor Linda Wall said Monday that the ministry is aware of the situation, but did not see it as an issue of concern.
“If they’re on First Nation land and not below the high-water mark, we don’t have any jurisdiction,” Wall noted, adding such issues are investigated all the time by the ministry and this one did not appear to merit special attention.
On private or Crown land, proposed development must be cleared through the MNR to make sure it does not adversely impact on fish spawning beds or other environmentally-sensitive areas.
Failure to do so can result in fines and/or restoration orders by the ministry.