Facing high unemployment, an Ontario Indian reservation is building a C$20 million (US$13.1 million) injection molding factory — with the help of Robert Schad, a plastics equipment leader in Canada.
The Schad Foundation, with help from the Canadian government, wants to create 50-70 jobs with the molding plant at Moose Deer Point First Nation, located on Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. The Schad Foundation is the charitable organization set up by Robert Schad, founder and top executive of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. of Bolton, Ontario.
The reservation is home to 120 members — or about one-third of the total — of an Indian tribe named Pottawatomi of Moose Deer Point. During the summer months, tourists flock to a marina and other attractions at the reservation, northwest of Toronto. But in the winter, unemployment soars to 65-75 percent, according to Schad Foundation Director Peter Kendall.
Schad learned about the Pottawatomi tribe's plight from personal contact.
``He has a cottage up in the area, and so over the past number of years he's gotten to know the area very well and know the chief, Edward Williams,'' Kendall said. ``He's been discussing it with the chief for about three years.''
Rhonda King, economic development officer for the reservation, said the area has no manufacturing jobs. Once young people gain a college education or technical training they're forced to move away, she said.
Kendall said the Schad Foundation is trying to secure money from the Ontario provincial government and Canada's federal government. Construction should begin this summer.
Early plans call for the plant to use small-tonnage Husky injection presses to mold small, highly technical parts for medical and electronics markets, Kendall said.
Schad was not available for comment, but Kendall said Schad's plans go much further than a plastics factory. Moose Deere Point will become a model for how to create an environmentally sustainable community. Reservation leaders are creating a complete inventory of wildlife and plants in the area, as part of a master land-use plan. Ecological housing and sewer systems also will be demonstrated.
In a separate issue, Schad has been active in a campaign to stop Ontario's spring bear hunt, claiming it is inhumane to kill female bears with young cubs. In January, the government voted to end the hunt, Kendall said.