Phase 1 - In August 2017 the first phase of the plan was completed with a retail plaza that included Minisi Convenience & Gifts, Fill Up Fuels & a Tim Horton’s. Located in a beautiful country setting across from the Great Blue Heron Casino (GBH), the plaza boasts of a natural, yet modern setting. We purposely envisioned bringing the outdoor look inside to create an atmosphere that would be conducive to experiencing the culture and selling the traditional arts and crafts and other unique products and services. The intent is to be a one stop shop of convenience more than anything else. The word Minisi is translated from the Ojibway language as Island beauty.
The advantage for Minisi Convenience & Gifts is that it has no convenience store competition on the Island and no Indigenous arts and crafts store within a 100-kilometer radius. However, its disadvantage is its location and not on a main road leading to a town or city. However, it’s location does have a captive market of 1100 casino staff and currently 1.3 million GBH patrons each year.
The purpose of Minisi is to contribute to the economic growth of the MSIFN and to compete with the mainstream market in the surrounding towns, namely the town of Port Perry. The goal is to have a one stop shopping experience of convenience with a wide tourism appeal, while Minisi management and staff remain true to the past and present culture of the First Nation.
The long-term vision of Minisi was to have two stores in the future and become an independent Indigenous Art store and separated from the Convenience Store.
Phase 2 - The next entrepreneurial phase of development will be to add a carwash and an office building for the NNLP staff. Originally, the plan was to build the carwash simultaneous to the water treatment plant upgrade and construction of the plant expansion. But after extensive research and planning for the carwash and formulating the financial projections, the water treatment plants technical contractors strongly advised that we put this initiative on hold until the sewer recycling process was finalized. The scientific evidence showed that membranes and the filtering process would not be able to handle the capacity until such time as the homes were hooked up and functioning well on the new system. However, we are currently assessing whether it would be more cost effective for the carwash to have its own water wells, holding tanks and septic system.
The process is finalized to build a new office building for the NNLP. We made some revisions to the plan to include the lower floor as the Minisi Gift Shop because the sales of arts and crafts have been our third best-selling category in the current shared convenience store setting. The separation of the gift shop will enable us to expand the product lines as well as sell higher end products and fine arts.
The lower floor will consist of the gift shop while the upper floor will be the corporate office for the NNLP staff.
Phase 3 – In January 2018, we distributed an RFP for an architectural firm to develop a study and drawings for a hotel at Seven Mile Island. MSIFN purchased this 90-acre property 14 years ago and its located at Lake Scugog. The property is located a few kilometers from MSIFN and the GBH and has lake front property. The property is commercially zoned and was not designated to the additions to reserve lands (ATR) process, therefore all Provincials laws and acts (environmental, green belt etc;) apply to this property. This means that we have to meet the guidelines of the various governmental departments. For example, the Ministry of Environment requires that we pay for and assess any species of animals, birds etc; and their habitat to ensure minimal disruption and distinction.
We still have a number of additional steps to move through in the next few months but anticipate having a formulated plan and financial projections by the fall 2018. Following this, a number of community engagement meetings will take place to show final rendering and possibilities for the property that realistic to the Provincial guidelines.
We are currently targeting 2019/2020 as a break ground and beginning of the construction of the Seven Mile Hotel.
Seven Mile Island hotel and conference center will be the crown jewel of the MSIFN community.
Phase 4 – A business plaza was identified during the Land Use Plan consultation and a self-storage facility was identified during meetings with the Council and the Board. As part of the visioning, an additional business plaza is planned for the interested entrepreneurs of the MSIFN community.
The research, planning and financial projections will be a priority for this project in 2019. As with the current financial state of the NNLP, all development and investments are subject to the approval of the Chief and Council of MSIFN.