As part of the $400 million agreement between the Government of Canada and Nova Scotia Government, First Nations participation was specified. This initiative is called the Aboriginal Set Aside program.
Certain elements of the of cleanup project have been designated Aboriginal Set Aside contacts. This means the company awarded each contract must have at least 51 percent aboriginal ownership. Contracts that have been chosen as aboriginal set aside contracts so far are, the cooling pond project, construction access roads, and the operations of the materials processing facility. More set aside contracts will be announced as work on the tar ponds and coke ovens site continue.
The first Aboriginal Set Aside in the Province of Nova Scotia was completed in 2007. The cooling pond project provided three local aboriginal companies the opportunity to learn new skills and gain new construction experience that will help them compete for future work. The cooling pond was a circular body of water in front of the Sydney Tar Pond Agency's office on Inglis Street, Sydney. Its function was to cool water used by Sysco's rolling mills.
The main objective of the Aboriginal Set Aside program was to increase capacity in aboriginal companies through training and skill building on this project. Recently, an aboriginal company, MB2 Construction, in a joint venture with Beaver Marine was awarded a contract that was not part of the Aboriginal Set Aside program. This clearly demonstrates how Aboriginal companies are benefiting from this program on the cleanup project.
The project is funded under the $400 million Final Cost-Share Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia.
For more inofrtion on capacity building in Cape Breton's First Nations click http://www.unamaki.ca/