Client: Mitaanjigamiing First Nation
Project Description: NOHFC Funding Application for an Eco-Tourism Lodge

Time Line: March 2010
Project Manager: Stephen Burnett

Client Category: First Nation
Service Category: Community Planning

S. Burnett & Associates Ltd. (SBA) was retained by Mitaanjigamiing First Nation to provide assistance with obtaining funding through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The funds were to be used to develop a feasibility study in regard to the Economic Development Strategy and Business Opportunity Assessment for a Tourism Lodge (or Eco-tourism Lodge).

The lodge concept had been discussed in the community for some time, drawing on two of the most basic competitive advantages: the natural beauty of the region and the local knowledge of the outdoors. The project’s potential benefits include employment, new skills, economic diversification, creation of a new industry cluster and linkages to other initiatives such as the proposed access road upgrades.

Unemployment is an issue in and around Mitaanjigamiing First Nation. Much of the uncertainty in the local economy stems from the region’s reliance on the forestry industry. Expanding the tourism industry in the region offers a greater amount of economic diversification as well as job creation.

Mitaanjigamiing identified a number of potential businesses to look at opening or purchasing however, of all these opportunities, the Tourism Lodge had the most far reaching economic development implications.  The lodge concept included multiple profit centers that would diversify the local economy and offer an expanded service base in the region.

SBA successfully completed this project in collaboration with Mitaanjigamiing First Nations, government agencies and non-government agencies.

“SBA is very hopeful that this study will provide a path to developing a Tourism Lodge. We anticipate that even if the study determines that the Tourism Lodge concept is not viable, we will have answered a number of other vital questions pertinent to the development of other business concepts.  Developing a Tourism Lodge is our immediate objective, but the overall goal is increased economic and community development.”