Caldwell First Nation planning development, restaurant for future community

Caldwell First Nation has some gold star plans in the works including, a marijuana grow facility, and the world’s largest Indigenous restaurant.

The world class restaurant will seat 600 people.

Billy Alexander is the culinary advisor for the new venture which is still all on paper.

“It is going to be multi-level and it’s really going to allow us to start to share our stories our history our culture through our food,” he says.

The restaurant will be built on the shores of a marina owned and operated by the Caldwell Band.

It is just a few kilometres away from the Point Pelee National Park on the North Shore of Lake Erie.

The Chippewas settled an old land claim with the federal government for $105 million.

With that 230-year battle is behind them, now they’re focused on the future.

“In order to be prosperous, economic development is going to get us there,” says Acting Chief Robyn Perkin. “It’s going to help us be able to bring back language and culture and re-learn as a community, some of our traditions, but it’s also going to set us up to be prosperous and be able to make sure that the future generations have a home.”

Councillor Stan Scott is hopeful the medical marijuana will be approved by Health Canada soon.

The old warehouse is empty right now, but the renovations are scheduled to begin.

He said the 50,000 square foot building will allow for expansion.

“We already have a partner that is going to take everything that we can grow initially, so that’s very exciting in itself, so that we don’t have to look for ways and means to sell our product, we already have that in line already,” he says.

Plans to move the community back home are also underway.

Last fall a 200-acre plot acquired reserve status, it’s one of over 30 properties purchased to date.

Nikki Van Oirschot, director of operations, says it could be another 18 months before the first few homes are built, but the plans are coming together.

“We’re developing our master plan right now, so we have to work with the Municipality of Leamington to get our municipal services agreements in place, that’s for the water connections and sewer connections,” she says.

According to Alexander the restaurant and remodelled marina will open for business by the summer of 2022.

If approved by Health Canada, the marijuana grow facility will be operating this summer.

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