Rainy River First Nation partners with Riversedge to redevelop former mill

Press Release

Fort Frances, Ontario – Rainy River First Nations and Riversedge Developments are pleased to announce the Aazhogan Renewal Partnership (“Aazhogan Renewal”) for developing the former Fort Frances pulp and paper mill properties.

Over the next year, in collaboration with the Town of Fort Frances, Aazhogan Renewal will be working to define the most viable and best end-use for the former pulp and paper mill properties.
Aazhogan, pronounced A-sho-gun, is an Ojibwe word, which translates into “bridge”, according to the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary.

“Aazhogan Renewal represents another significant step forward for our First Nation in achieving a sustainable future for our members by taking on a leadership role for economic renewal across the Rainy River District,” said Sonny McGinnis, CEO for Rainy River First Nations Economic Development. “This goal is forever balanced with our stewardship responsibilities for the preservation of lands and resources. We look forward to working with Riversedge Developments, and in collaboration with the Fort Frances community, to revitalize the former mill properties.”

“This partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for the entire region,” added Mitch LePage, Asset Manager at Riversedge Developments. “We understand these are long-term projects that include stringent environmental remediation requirements, asset repositioning, decommissioning assessments and community engagement processes. Knowing what you have, who you can work with, and what you can collectively accomplish are simple steps towards building a project that can best leverage the strengths of the region while realizing new potential and value for the community.”

Rainy River First Nations, otherwise known as Manitou Rapids, is one of seven original First Nation communities which were situated along the Rainy River prior to being amalgamated by Canada and Ontario in 1916. Rainy River First Nations owns several profitable businesses including ownership interest in a strip mall located in the town of Fort Frances. Rainy River First Nations prides itself in establishing new partnerships and initiatives that support sustainable development.

Riversedge Developments is a restorative development company specializing in the integrated revitalization of industrial properties. In 2018, a numbered company associated with Riversedge purchased the Resolute paper mill, which has been out of operation since 2014.