The timing was right in 2022 for the Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc (TteS), to create a strategic plan for their Business and Economic Development Department. A new Chief and Council was elected in 2021 to lead the community over the next three years, a competent and motivated staff team was in place, and the appetite for reconciliation and collaboration with Indigenous people was strong.
TteS is a highly progressive community with nearly 1,500 members and 700 businesses on and off the reserve, 70 of which are owned by members. It has numerous residential, industrial, commercial, and agricultural business activities on 33,000 acres. The TteS business district functions economically as part of the City of Kamloops with a population of over 97,000 residents.
Over several decades, TteS has continued to strengthen its entrepreneurial endeavours as well as complete community infrastructure projects such as the water reservoir and water treatment plant, as it strives for economic sovereignty and maximizing its tax base. TteS’s Mt. Paul Industrial Park with 350 tenants, is one of the largest industrial parks in Canada.
“TteS has an effective team, a strong plan and the framework to work within, as well as implementation guidelines and clear goals,” said TteS Assistant Manager Danalee Baker.
With its mandate to support smaller communities and First Nations in the Southern Interior region, the Economic Trust of Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) provided grant funding towards the cost of hiring a local consulting firm to help create the plan.
Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, states that, “receiving the one-time funding for the implementation of a strategic plan will align our TteS business arm with our political vision, upholding our self-determination that puts economic sovereignty and parity at the forefront.”
The 2022-2025 Strategic Plan identifies eight priorities including Communication and Engagement, Community Assets, Education, Environmental Stewardship, and Clean Energy and Infrastructure. More than $140 million in investment in the community is expected as a result of the plan, which will lead to significant opportunities for leasing and land development.
“The strategic planning process was extremely valuable,” says Baker. “It included two full-day staff sessions, a review of existing planning documents for the community, a survey of community members and a market analysis.”
In late 2022, TteS opened another majority-owned business, Tḱemlúps Transload, a lumber and construction reload facility located in the Mount Paul Industrial Park on the CN line. This joint venture project with Arrow Reload enabled TteS to capitalize on the highest and best use for a vacant property, one of the goals of the plan that is heading into Year 2.
“We realize this is a living document that will be reviewed and revised every 18 months as circumstances require,” says Baker. “We are confident that it is both ambitious and realistic to realize the goals and the desired future for the Membership and TteS as a whole.”
The community is excited to see Sweláps Market, a TteS-owned and operated grocery store, open in the fall of 2023 and this will be followed by a second TteS Petro Canada gas station to be completed in 2025. Eight TESLA supercharger stalls have recently opened at the current Petro Canada, a significant milestone in the Tḱemlúps Clean Energy and Emissions Plan. Many other land development and infrastructure projects are in the feasibility stage.
In addition, Tḱemlúps land is becoming more desirable and known for on-reserve activities, events, and businesses that have increased their profile provincially and nationally. Numerous organizations approach TteS monthly inquiring about leasing and business opportunities and TteS’ Economic and Business Development department looks forward to exploring these.
“Our TteS lands are a sought-after location. We have a responsibility to ensure that economic opportunities enhance sustainable growth which are guided by a development strategy and action plan that will bring value to the community for generations to come.,” says Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir.