Northern grocery store hailed as progress

Workers put an outside wall into place at the new grocery store just outside of Beauval on Sept. 29. The facility is supposed to open next spring.

By Ben Ingram

A new grocery store being built at the Beauval Forks should be ready by the spring according to the general contractor in charge of its construction.

The over 17,000 square foot facility will host a restaurant, grocery store, gas station and confectionery. For residents in the North, it should help alleviate some strain on the cost of living.

“The northern people need a better grocery store. When you got to drive to Meadow Lake, bread gets pretty expensive,” Dwight Shiels said.

The new facility has walls over six metres high and dwarfs the old convenience store still in operation next to it.

Construction by Tron Power, a company owned by English River First Nation, is employing as many as 18 workers for the seven month stretch. The squad is mostly made up of local employees.

Ralph Paul, the current chief of the First Nation, said the facility will be serviceable to all the population in the North.

“There’s a lot of people that do stop, that’s the only gas station in that area,” he explained.

As for job creation, the company has been experiencing a high turnover rate as their commitment to employ locals sometimes means putting fresh workers in unfamiliar situations.

The First Nation intends to convert the land to reserve status using treaty entitlement, but until then employees on the site have to pay income tax as well.

“We need to progress and right now it’s progressing nicely,” Paul said.

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