By the end of the year, and much sooner than that if they can help it, the Ashcroft Indian Band will have a Tim Horton’s, an Esso gas station and be part of Ashcroft’s municipal water system.
It’s taken years of planning, but the wait is almost over. Blain said they started investigating the possibility of a gas station and Tim Hortons about four years ago for the corner of Hwy 1 and Cornwall Rd., next to the Motorplex.
He said there have been a lot of hoops to jump through, especially with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), but they’ve jumped through them all now. Last week, they were finalizing the building design and location.
The 4,000 square foot Esso gas station will feature eight pumps plus a cardlock, and an On the Run convenience store with a Tim Hortons and lots of parking for cars and trucks.
“It’s going to be big,” said Blain. “This is going to be almost a flagship for Esso.”
He said they hope to break ground by the end of March and be in business by June.
Building a Tim Horton’s requires replacing the current well water system with municipal water.
Ashcroft Council agreed at its Feb. 27 meeting to send a letter of support to AANDC, saying the Village supported the Band’s project.
“It’s going to be good for the community,” said Ashcroft’s administrator, Michelle Allen.
“We don’t anticipate there will be any impact on the Village water users,” she said, “and we wanted to make sure of that up front.”
She said water rates for the Band haven’t been discussed yet, but they will be. In the agreement signed between the Village and the Band there is a mechanism for the Village to establish a rate for water usage.
She said the Village has very little to do with any part of the project, which is basically between AANDC, the Band and civil engineers Urban Systems. The Village is just the water supplier, she said.
The entire project is costing roughtly $3.5 million, said Blain. They are keeping the profit estimates conservative, but “if we make a profit on the first year, we’ll be happy.”
Besides the addition of a convenience store and gas station for local residents, Blain said the employment opportunities will be good for the area as well.