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Membertou First Nation celebrates the construction of a new gas bar, timber office building

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

June 28, 2024

Today, Membertou First Nation and Indigenous Services Canada announced the construction of a new gas bar and a mass timber office building at the Seventh Exchange retail district. Chief Terrance Paul was joined for the announcement by Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney–Victoria, and Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada.

The construction of the retail commercial space includes a restaurant, convenience store, gas bar, and car wash. This construction will provide easier access to services along with continuing the economic growth of the community.

In addition to this, a new 91,875 square foot office space is being constructed out of mass timber as opposed to traditional concrete and steel. Mass timber is an umbrella category of materials made by binding layers of wood together to create larger, stronger elements like panels and beams. Proponents say it’s faster and easier to work with than concrete and steel, and less carbon intensive. The new five-storey building will provide affordable, greener office space for local organizations and businesses in the area.

Working in partnership with Membertou First Nation, over $1.8 million in funding was invested in these two projects through Indigenous Services Canada’s Community Opportunity Readiness Program, which provides project-based funding for a range of activities to support communities’ pursuit of economic opportunities.


“We’re incredibly proud to announce a funding partnership with our federal partners for the development of Seventh Exchange, Membertou’s new retail district. Thanks to this support, totaling $1.8 million, we will bring new opportunities to our people, and provide new services for the greater Cape Breton community.”

Chief Terry Paul
Chief & CEO, Membertou First Nation

“This project has been led by the Membertou First Nation community, and is made possible because of its leadership. It will create good-paying jobs and new economic opportunities for its members. While a lot more work still has to be done, this is another step toward everyone having a fair chance to participate in the economy.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“I am proud to join Chief Terry Paul and Membertou First Nation to announce the construction of the timber office building and the gas bar at the Seventh Exchange retail district. It sets the stage for commercial development and economic benefits for the community and the region, including job creation, something that has never been more important. Our government recognizes the importance of local investments in Cape Breton–Canso and across the country.”

Mike Kelloway
Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso

“It is always exciting to see a community-led project that will help foster economic growth, while also adding service convenience and employment opportunities for the community and neighbouring area. The gas bar and the mass timber office building will contribute to the growth of Membertou First Nation and Seventh Exchange as a business centre while creating jobs and building economic opportunities for the community. Investing in projects like this is part of our commitment to supporting Indigenous community businesses to maximize opportunities for success.”

Jaime Battiste
Member of Parliament for Sydney–Victoria and Parliamentary Secretary of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Membertou First Nation is one of five Mi’kmaw communities in Unama’ki (Cape Breton) and one of thirteen Mi’kmaw communities within the Province of Nova Scotia. It has a total registered population of 1,695 people, with approximately 937 people living on the reserve.
  • Membertou is an urban First Nation community located in the heart of the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia. Seventh Exchange is Membertou’s retail district located off of exit 7A of Trans Canada Highway 125.
  • Indigenous Service Canada is providing $1,000,000 to support the construction of the gas bar and is contributing $811,328 in funding for the mass timber office building.
  • The gas bar is expected to be completed in 2024 and the office building is slated for completion in 2025.
  • The Community Opportunity Readiness Program provides project-based funding to First Nations and Inuit communities for a range of activities to support the pursuit of economic opportunities, including projects such as feasibility studies, business plans, the establishment of community-owned businesses, and the construction of economic infrastructure.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Kelsea MacNeil
Director, Public Relations & Business Development
Membertou Development Corporation

Jennifer Kozelj
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor

ISC Media Relations


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