2019 Annual Report
We continue working towards implementing the visions of
Ka Kniǂwitiyaǂa (our thinking), the ʔaqam community strategic plan and the
mandate and mission of our development corporation ʔaqam community
enterprises (ACE). These goals continue to guide our annual work plans and
our daily work.
Our team continues to explore businesses for sale, investment opportunities as
well as manage all of the business units within the corporations.
Each year we also support our independent entrepreneurs with the annual
Business Development Grant. Our goal is to continue to support our
community business owners to see their long-term growth and success and to
create an entrepreneurial spirit within the community.
With gratitude and respect,
Chief Executive Officer for ʔaqam Community Enterprises
ʔaqam Community Enterprises Board of Directors
• Becky Pelkonen (Chair)
• Sandra Van Steijn
• Marty Williams
Business Development Assistant
• Ryan Phillips-Clement
Capacity will remain a challenge for the next few years as we drive revenues and stabilize the corporations but there has been some real positives come out of the capacity challenges in 2019.
Ryan Phillips-Clement has just completed his first full year as the Business Development Assistant. Ryan’s support has been critical to the success of the corporations. Ryan manages all of our administrative tasks, grant writing, business management and direct support to the Chief Executive Officer. Ryan is also working to complete his business diploma at the College of the Rockies as he balances his work with ʔaqam Community Enterprises. Ryan’s role has been a critical addition to ACE and we look forward to continued capacity growth opportunities in 2020 so that we can continue to grow the opportunities and better manage the work load of the development corporation.
Utility Scale Solar Project
We continue to be challenged to find a path to an Energy Purchase Agreement (EPA) for our utility scale solar project. We need to have an EPA before we can project revenues and ultimately build our
project. The new NDP government has cancelled the old Standing Offer Program and we are still awaiting a program path through new NDP policy to obtain an EPA. We will continue to lobby along side Chief and Council to get this utility scale power project built to ensure long-term revenues into the community. We renewed our Memorandum of Understanding with FortisBC for another three
years. The Fortis team is committed to work alongside ACE to bring this dream to fruition, of course if it is feasible. Fortis brings with them expertise in this field as they own a company called Tucson
Electric out of Arizona USA who are one of the largest solar producers in the United States.
Five Business Development Grants were awarded in 2019
Allan Hunter – Akinmi Resources – business expansion
Bonnie & Randy Harvey – Fry Bread for Fundz – business expansion
Blaine Burgoyne – Indigenous View – photography
Lindsey Whitehead – Rez Dawgs Hunting – business expansion
Sherri Corrie – Engraving business
• Negotiations carry on with local companies to bring our gravel pit into operation in 2020.
• We exceeded our gross sales goals and came just shy of our net revenue targets for 2019. This shows us the great potential our new store has.
• We continue to lease the entire log building to Nupqu as a reliable revenue producer.
• ʔaqam Trading continues to support three full-time, two part-time and three on call staff, all of whom are community members
• We continue to manage expenses and grow sales to increase net profitability. We also worked on continuing to diversify the store products and to market our store regionally.
2019 Year in Review
Yearly distribution of set annual funds from Indigenous Services Canada to support several
departmental initiatives (Business Development Grant, Proposal Assistance, Marketing and Legal
Renewable Forest License
Our five year contract with Canfor expired on December 31st 2018. 2019 brought a whole new strategy from the development corporation working together with the Lands department to
negotiate volume deals rather than long term deals. By negotiating one deal at a time this allows significantly larger revenues into the development corporation now that we have an in house forester to assist us in the negotiations. We completed our first deal with British Columbia Timber Sales in 2019 and are currently working on our first volume sale with Canfor in early 2020.
This new strategy allows us to choose specific harvest blocks that can assist in better stewardship principles during the harvest and re-plant and at the same time maximize our revenues.
Businesses we explored in 2018:
• Kimberley Riverside Campground – ACE submitted a proposal to purchase the campground that was for sale from the City of Kimberley. We were unfortunately not chosen as the purchaser.
• Indoor and outdoor adventure park businesses. This project is now in feasibility stage as we have hired IplayCo as part of a garnt that we received to complete the feasibility, initial business planning and 2D modelling.
(Procurement, employment opportunities working group – Teck IMBA)
This group is directly responsible for a percentage of support that allowed ACE to put the Business Development Assistant position in place. Over the next few years the funding percentage will decrease with the goal of the development corporation becoming financially independent in its capacity maintenance and growth. ACE continued involvement in the PEOWG group and sub
groups exploring businesses and partnerships directed at procurement opportunities with Teck Coal. 2019 saw the end of our partnership with Spartan Scaffolding as the development corporation has chosen a new strategic direction. ACE will continue to be involved with these groups with the focus of supporting Ktunaxa collective partnerships. The intention is to see accountability from the Ktunaxa Nation business groups to flow benefits directly back to the communities.
Board of Directors
Becky Pelkonen has been our most recent addition to our ACE board. Becky joins us as an
instructor at the College of the Rockies and spent five years working for ʔaqam as the Director of
Community and Economic Development. The ACE Board continues to operate with a cohesive
team of three directors.
We continue to strive for improvement in the communication for the development corporation.
ACE reports quarterly to Chief and Council and also publishes a public version of this quarterly
update on its newest webpage www.investaqam.com.
We continue to share our new webpage and use it as a marketing tool to help promote ACE and
let the public and the ʔaqam community know what we are continually working on.
Utility Scale Solar Project
The legal survey of 230 acres for the project site was officially completed at the end of 2019. We now have official borders to complete the remaining lease requirements with ʔaqam. We will be focussing on the remaining lease requirements in order to bring the project as close to ‘shovel ready’ as possible for when the opportunity of an Energy Purchase Agreement becomes available.
We continue to manage the relationships with our existing partners while at the same time search out new strategic partnerships that bring revenue as well as employment and training opportunities for the community.
• Memorandum of Understanding with Canadian Mountain Holidays LP
• A renewed three year term on a Memorandum of Understanding with FortisBC in January 2020 related directly to the Utility Scale Solar Project
• Allnorth Engineering – MOU, we receive a percentage of net revenue from work we bid on together within the territory
• 50/50 Partner Owners in D&B Flagging and Traffic Control alongside Nupqu Development Corporation.
Partnerships we explored in 2019
• Arctic Arrow – We discussed if and how we can renew this relationship in 2019 specifically targeted at work within the Teck coalmines.
• Galloway Lumber Mill – We explored this opportunity together with Nupqu and the other three Ktunaxa communities. These discussions continued along side Brian Fehr who had recently purchased Galloway.
• Tipi Mountain – ACE had discussions with Tipi Mountain in regards to buying back into Tipi as well as diversifying a separate business stream targeted at commercial cannabis growing.
First Nations Economic Development Corporation Conference
ACE attended this conference at the Riverrock Casino in Richmond, BC from March 7-8, 2019. The topics that were covered were Charter Development, Best Practices on Governance and partnerships, Economic Outlooks and Trends, Identifying and Managing Risk, Investing Economic Development Profits in First Nations Communities and Impact Benefit Agreements. The conference was valuable mostly in hearing about what the other First Nations communities are doing and how they are doing it. The networking was a very valuable piece of the conference as we made several connections that we can use as resources for information and opinions on our own opportunities and projects.
Economic Development Practioners Network
This group is regionally targeted and supported by Columbia Basin Trust bringing together
the economic development staff of each community within the basin. It’s really a
networking group that can share ideas and potential collaboration on projects and ideas.
This group met in the Fall of 2019 at the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort for a two day
conference and networking.
Agriculture Feasibility Planning
Late in 2019 ACE received a small $5K grant from the provincial government to hire a
professional agrologist to complete an ‘opportunity assessment’ on what food crops and
or industries we can target. This study was delayed once and we are now awaiting for the
results that should be in by June 2020. Once this step has been completed we can qualify
for another $10K through the same granting stream to continue to business planning. We
are excited to continue exploring what food agriculture opportunities we can continue
planning. Food agriculture is a key activity within our strategic plan.
Adventure Park Feasibility Project
We received a $16K grant along with our own contribution of $4K for a total budget of $20K to explore indoor and outdoor adventure park businesses. This project is now officially in a
feasibility stage as we have hired IplayCo as part of this project to complete a feasibility study, initial business planning and 2D modelling. As part of the project we also visited twelve indoor adventure parks in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary and made some valuable business connections through these visits.
40 Acre Ranch Purchase
Alongside ʔaqam, ACE assisted in negotiations and completion of the purchase of the forty acre ranch across the road from the administration lands and adjacent to St. Eugene Resort. This fee simple land sits within the agriculture land reserve and presents many exciting opportunities
for the community. We look forward to supporting and planning alongside ʔaqam as the Bands takes over this chunk of land.
D&B Flagging and Traffic Control Services
2019 saw our first full year of operating our newest business acquisition, D&B Flagging. As expected our first year of learning to run and manage this business was a challenge. We had a brand new manager with limited experience which brought with it several challenges of procuring work and
managing staff. This manager has since left the company for other opportunities. We have recruited Carlin Dennis as the newest manager. Carlin has a vast array of experience and we look forward to where he can lead our company in 2020.