Caldwell, Leamington Partnership Creating Jobs

Caldwell First Nations Chief Louise Hillier and Leamington Mayor John Paterson, March 31, 2016. (photo courtesy of Kelly Sfetkidis)

Under a new partnership, members of the Caldwell First Nation will get hands-on training from the Municipality of Leamington on how to run a municipality.

Mayor John Paterson says the partnership grew out of a previous agreement to provide training to run Towle Harbour. The First Nation has hired it’s equivalent of a chief administrative officer and eventually plans to hire staff to provide other municipal services to its members.

“We’ll be hooking them up with our finance department, the engineering department — basically, everything to run their own municipality because the Caldwells are a government unto themselves.”

There’s no cost to Leamington. The Caldwell First Nation bears the cost of its new staff, but eventually, Paterson hopes the provincial and federal governments will step in with funding to support the initiative. If that piece falls into place, Paterson says the partnership has the potential to create 50 jobs.

There are some differences, most markedly, the Caldwell First Nation is not a municipality.

“They won’t have the same provincial and federal regulations that we may necessarily have to follow at the municipal level,” says Paterson. “But, it will be similar enough that we hope to be able to train their staff members on how to do these things to make their community more efficient.”

Other First Nations groups have approached the town, and Paterson says if they can pull this partnership off, maybe the programs can be transferred to other municipalities.