UNFC collaborates with Riversedge to purchase former mill office

Jamie Mountain

The United Native Friendship Centre has announced that it has reached a collaborative arrangement with the owners of the former pulp and paper mill properties in Fort Frances, Riversedge Developments, to acquire the building and property located at 427 Mowat Avenue.
“We’re so pleased with the acquisition of 427 Mowat Avenue,” said Sheila McMahon, executive director of the UNFC.
“One of our goals for many years has been to amalgamate the majority of our programs and services under one roof, which will allow us to better serve clients and continue to be a responsive community partner.”
Riversedge Developments is a restorative development company that specializes in the integrated revitalization of industrial properties. As a single point of contact for communities and corporations looking for progressive, long-term solutions, it leverages its experience leading restorative development teams to provide long-term gains for the investors, partners, and communities it work with.
​After a decade working in the property revitalization field with some of Canada’s leading, remediation, and urban planning teams, Riversedge Developments was founded by Justus Veldman to address a service gap that was crippling closed or distressed industrial properties and the communities that surround them.
Resolute Forest Products had sold the properties comprising the Fort Frances mill to a subsidiary of Riversedge Developments back in July of last year.
“Justus Veldman of 2670568 Ontario Ltd. has been excellent to work with,” said McMahon.
“Without a collaborative approach and innovative options, we would not have realized our dream at this stage. He shares our vision for Fort Frances and the surrounding communities.”
Veldman congratulated the UNFC on reaching its long-term goal.
“It’s been an honour to work with Sheila and the Board of Directors of the United Native
Friendship Centre,” he noted.
“We are happy to be part of such a great accomplishment and congratulate Sheila and her entire team. We look forward to more revitalization projects in the future.”
The UNFC is dedicated to enhancing the lives of Native and non-Native people in our community and surrounding area.
Its primary responsibility is to serve Aboriginal people with special services in the fields of social, educational and cultural development while also building a bridge of understanding between Native and non-Native people.
Since its early beginnings, the centre has grown from two to 23 programs which are housed in three buildings in Fort Frances. Within the current programs are mini-programs and support staff that provides services over and above the mandates of each individual program.
The UNFC says it is planning on starting renovations this spring and moving programs and services into the building located at 427 Mowat Avenue once those renovations are complete.