First Nation announces Dryden hotel project

DRYDEN – Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation and Winnipeg-based Rideout Bay Developments plan to start a 70-room hotel project this June.

The hotel will be built on a nine-acre site “in the heart of Dryden” along with commercial space that will include offices and room for a restaurant, according to a news release issued by the First Nation.

Construction is scheduled to begin June 15 and expected to take one year to complete.

“We bought (the land) about a year ago and did a bit of a cleanup there and got the site ready,” Ben Cohen, Rideout Bay’s CEO, said Thursday.

“And now we’re moving ahead with a 70-suite hotel.”

He added that the partners are “looking to add a national restaurant chain, some retail space and two office buildings.”

The planned three-storey hotel is to be built at 559-569 Government Street, the former location of an RV park.

The RV park was on 6.5 acres, Cohen said, “and then we added another two-and-a-half acres to it with an adjacent property.”

The site is near “all the major retail and hospitality spots” in the city, he said.

Rideout Bay has projects in other parts of Northwestern Ontario, notably a hotel project in Hornepayne.

Cohen said he met Wabigoon Lake officials at a conference and got into a partnership with them soon afterwards.

“Chief and Council believes the $25-million mixed use development will be of significant benefit to both the City of Dryden and the employment and economic opportunities of Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation members,” this week’s news release stated.

Dryden needs more hotel rooms, Wabigoon Lake economic development officer Glen Wetelainen said in the news release.

Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source