Champagne and Aishihik First Nation hope to push resort plan ahead on Mat’atana Man Lake

The Champagne and Aishihik First Nation had a million dollar view during its annual general assembly and are pushing a big idea to go with it.

The three day event was held on Mat’atana Man (Kathleen Lake) on purpose.

“It’s a proposed multi million dollar facility right here, just sort of around the corner, as the crow flies you just heading over there,” said Champagne and Aishihik Chief Steve Smith.

“One of the reasons why we chose Kathleen lake was to sort of give an opportunity to highlight what actually the potential is here”

The Mat’atana Man Resort was one of the subjects of discussion on day two of the general assembly.

The multi million dollar project that has been on the table since the 1980s and the talk of putting shovels in the ground continues to this day.

The construction is still quite a ways away but it is in its 2nd phase of consultations.

If the project goes ahead, the Mat’atana Man resort will be constructed on 25 square km of Champagne and Aishihik settlement land.

Smith said he’s positive it would be a success because of it’s prime location – but there is work to be done yet.

“There are people who are, you know they want to make sure all the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed.

“And then we have a whole bunch of people who are entrepreneurial and see some opportunity that could be created but also see an opportunity to utilize one of our natural

resources for a more sustainable opportunity.”

A special general assembly to have more community feedback is set to be scheduled in the fall.

Nathan McCowan is a delegate at the meetings and travelled all the way from Anchorage, Alaska to attend.

“Fundamentally inside the notion of why the project will makes sense is the draw for individuals to want to come and see a relatively pristine, relatively untouched, beautiful environment like this one,” he said.

“The project, if it does come to fruition, I think will be managed with the utmost care and the perspective of making it a success not for the next quarter or the next fiscal year, but for decades and decades to come.”

There are still many things to do before construction starts, but despite whether the resort gets built or not, McCowan said Kathleen lake will remain a special place for him and his family.

“My great grandfather was integral to the land claims process up here,” he said.

“Our family has lived for thousands and thousands of years here and so you don’t know who you are in this world until you know where you’re from.”

Reporter / Whitehorse

Chris was born in Toronto but has lived all over Canada. He moved to the Yukon in 2009 where he lived and worked in Dawson City. Chris’s background is in radio broadcasting and he has worked with CFYT 106.9, CBC Yukon, and CHON FM as a host and show producer. Chris joined APTN News in May.