MADAWASKA MALISEET FIRST NATION (GNB) – The chief and council, provincial government officials and members of the community gathered today to celebrate the grand opening of the Edmundston Truck Stop, the first tenant to begin operations at the Grey Rock Power Centre, a 28-hectare (70-acre) commercial centre on the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation.

“Economic development in the north is a priority for our government,” said Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé who attended the event on behalf of the provincial government. “The Grey Rock Power Centre is an excellent example of what can be achieved when everyone works together toward a common goal.”

“Today, I present our most significant development initiative to date, the Grey Rock Power Centre, and its first tenant, the impressive Edmundston Truck Stop,” said Joanna Bernard, chief of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation. “We are all proud of this exciting project which embodies the hopes and aspirations of my people. It represents a transition from the past to the future; from what was to what will be.”

The provincial government invested $500,000 through the Northern New Brunswick Economic Development and Innovation Fund into the $13-million commercial project, just off the Trans-Canada Highway, bordering on Edmundston.

“Economic development in First Nations communities is a great way to make the economy stronger in New Brunswick,” said Premier David Alward, who is minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat. “Collaboration with the people in the communities has made success stories like the Grey Rock Power Centre possible in our province.”  

The federal government contributed $3.5 million to the project, of which $3 million was from the Community Economic Opportunities Program for water, sewer, electrical and road infrastructure, and $500,000 was provided under the Aboriginal Business Development Program towards the establishment of an anchor tenant owned by a member of the First Nations community.

“Our government is delivering on its commitment to create the right conditions for jobs and economic growth on First Nation communities,” said  Bernard Valcourt, minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development. “Our government recognizes the benefits of strengthening economic development in First Nation communities, and we are committed to making strategic investments such as the Grey Rock Power Centre, so that community members can have access to job opportunities and therefore, an improved quality of life.”

The Edmundston truck stop is a joint operation between three entrepreneurs and is a combination of a gas bar, restaurant and variety store. Future development on the site is intended to spark greater economic opportunities for the region.