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New Hwy. 69 First Nation gas bar credits Indigenous source with savings

With skyrocketing prices at the pump, drivers are looking for more ways to save and for those travelling on Highway 69 near Parry Sound, a new Indigenous-owned gas bar that sources fuel from an Ontario First Nation company is offering much cheaper gas than most stations along the route.

Shawanaga First Nation, located about 30 kilometres north of Parry Sound, recently opened a new gas bar, variety store and cannabis shop on the highway and is already planning to expand the facility to include a food court.

The gas station is located about 135 kilometres south of Sudbury and is band-owned and community-operated.

On Thursday, Shawanaga Gas and Variety fuel was priced at $1.66 per litre, when most stations in Sudbury were 30 cents more.

 Chief Adam Pawis credits the gas station's supplier for the significant savings.

"We offer fuel that is locally processed in Canada by our partners OTE, Original Traders Energy, which is in southern Ontario. They are a First Nation company," Pawis said.

"We built this location to service the greater need that was evident at our old gas station just down the road."

He said the station still collects taxes and submits them to the government, but there are additional small savings for Indigenous individuals.

The variety store offers a vast array of Indigenous crafts, apparel and other items of interest.

Shawanaga First Nation variety store offers Indigenous crafts, apparel and smudging. April 21/22 (Alana Everson/CTV Northern Ontario)

"We want people to feel comfortable. They can approach us and ask us anything about our culture, our medicines," band member Tracey Pawis McCans said.

The store also offers smudging, a unique Indigenous offering to put people in a better place mentally and physically.

"I offer it as, for people to, you know, as to get away that bad' juju.' Just to have safe travel on their way and just to have a good energy around them," said another band member Beverlee Walsh.

The First Nation has also opened a cannabis shop.

"It's run by the First Nation under our own Indigenous law. So we operate daily as we do with the gas station," Pawis said.

The chief said once the debt to build the facility is paid, revenue will go towards needed improvements on the First Nation as well as projects and initiatives to enhance the community.

"We will put revenues for this facility towards infrastructure projects, housing projects, water/wastewater and any other social needs or community needs that become apparent," Pawis said.

The facility and improvements to Highway 69 to allow for safe access to the location cost the band $12 million, he added, and said they hope the debt will be paid off in the next two to three years. Top Stories

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