FedNor funding helps stoke tourism growth in Garden River
The federal government is committing $100,000 to help Garden River First Nation spruce up Ojibway Park and Laughing Water Beach, located on the shores of Lake George.
With the announcement, First Nation officials can begin making improvements to the park; namely the shower facility, pavilion and boardwalk nature trails.
"We want to improve the level of service here for our customers that come here and our community members that utilize the park," said Paul Syrette, Garden River First Nation chief.
"It's a real good opportunity to build on that infrastructure. Build on with the focus of course being tourism."
The park is culturally important for the people of the Garden River First Nation.
The site was first opened to the public back in 1962, but was already being used as a gathering place for area residents.
"The whole area was open to provide support and assistance to women and children," said Darleen Solomon, Garden River Economic Resource and Community Development manager.
"That's what the significance behind opening the park was to have them come in and collect traditional berries, medicines, provide cultural awareness as well."
The Ojibway Park campground has grown over the past 50 plus years and it is now a major part of the Garden River First Nation economy, generating around $200,000 annually.
"Not only in from a job perspective but also from a revenue perspective in terms of capacity and really getting in touch with not only our own first nation people within garden river but also surrounding communities."
Solomon said the park currently has 12 full-time seasonal workers.
She adds the park masterplan includes expanding from 85 serviced lots to 140 over the next few years.