Moose Cree First Nation has approved the purchase of a new office building in Timmins.
The building is located at 36 Birch St. S.
Bartholemew Smallboy, Moose Cree’s associate executive director, said the building was purchased for several primary reasons.
It will provide services to off-reserve members living in the Timmins and Cochrane area. The chief and council were “really quite” interested in ensuring all members are able to access services, Smallboy said.
Moose Cree’s total membership count is 5,000 people with about 2,000 members living on-reserve and 3,000 off-reserve.
“Currently, we don’t have an office where we’re able to provide a wide range of services to our members located in those areas,” he said.
Moose Cree used to rent an office on Elm Street and vacated the building about three or four years ago, according to Smallboy. The purchase of a new office building is about re-establishing the connection with the off-reserve members, he said.
Off-reserve members will be able to stop in to get their status cards and other membership services. The departments that will be opening in the new office building include child welfare, lands and resources, executive services, economic development and the Kirkland Lake Gold implementation team.
Mushkegowuk Council used to rent the building from the previous owners, Smallboy said.
The location was chosen after Moose Cree engaged a Timmins-based consultancy to take a look at various options for rental and purchase.
“After a very rigorous selection process, we did narrow it down to this last facility,” Smallboy said.
There will be renovations, including modernizing the interior, painting, refurbishing the kitchen area and refinishing the floors, taking place in the summer. After that, the staff plan to occupy the building in early September.
According to Smallboy, there will likely be a full occupancy in the building with at least 15 staff and additional maintenance staff working from the office.
The selection of a contractor to do the renovations is still under discussion, Smallboy said noting there’s a preference for Moose Cree members.
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com