TIMMINS – It’s far from a done deal, but if David Franks has his way, a greenhouse will be built in Attawapiskat First Nation thanks to the proceeds of his book.
Published late last year, 30 Days in Attawapiskat details “the observations and impressions of a once-proud, yet blissfully ignorant Canadian writer who spent a month on the fly-in First Nation reserve,” according to the description on Amazon. Half of net profits from that book will be used to design and build a community greenhouse on the reserve.
Franks was recently back in the community to talk to Chief Ignace Gull. The meeting left the writer “kind of stymied at the moment for where we can build this.” Gull told The Daily Press there simply isn’t space. “We don’t have space in the community for other buildings or structures. Everything has been designated for our housing project,” said the chief. Nearby Potato Island is an option.
“There’s a lot of room in that area, but unfortunately there’s no electricity, there’s no power where that space is, but it can be done, if you want to supply electricity to that place. It’s just a matter of costing it out and seeing what can be done as an option,” Gull said.
Franks is worried that ice jams would level any building placed on the island. There’s also a question of protecting the greenhouse from vandalism.
Gull said, “I’m not saying Attawapiskat is bad for vandalism, but you’ve got to think about health and safety too, and security. It would be nice to have something up here to involve the young, the school children, to learn how to grow vegetables and other plants in a greenhouse.”
Gull explained that he isn’t the decision-maker when it comes to erecting buildings on the island, and council needs to see a plan before it commits to supporting the project.
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