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'This is just the beginning': Chiefs break ground on Naawi-Oodena development

A groundbreaking ceremony officially kicked off the long-awaited development of Naawi-Oodena on the former Kapyong Barracks land.

The first phase of this nearly $2 billion project will see a service station, residential units and offices going up at the northeast corner of Kenaston Boulevard and Taylor Avenue.

It's the first step towards the overall project, which will see the barracks land transformed into a mixed-use economic zone and urban reserve.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday with the chiefs of the Treaty One Development Corporation.

"This is just the beginning of the work that our 21 communities will be doing here at Naawi-Oodena," Chief Gordon Bluesky, the Treaty One Nation chairperson, said at the ceremony. "This has been long overdue for our people to take our rightful place."

Along with the groundbreaking ceremony, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew announced his team has passed a cabinet order relinquishing any future claim to the economic development zone.

He said this was a gesture of goodwill in order to advance reconciliation.

"This is economic reconciliation," Kinew said at the ceremony. "This is an opportunity to see people move forward together in a good way with the Treaty One leadership as stewards of this economic development."

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick told the crowd Monday this development is the start of a legacy that will endure for generations. Developing the entire 109 acres is expected to take anywhere from 15 to 20 years. 

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