The Pabineau First Nation near Bathurst, New Brunswick, says it won’t wait for the results of a plebiscite on casino gambling before opening a gambling centre on reserve.

Bathurst city council voted this week to hold a referendum on whether to build a casino in the city. Pabineau Chief John Henry Paul attended the council meeting, and listened carefully to the debate among councillors about whether to open a casino. But Paul says the city’s decision won’t influence his plans setting up a casino. Paul admits the idea is still in the early stages. But he says the reserve is trying to get back title of Indian Island, a small piece of land in the Bay of Chaleur and he wants to build a casino there.

“The whole region really would benefit, there’s spinoff for the city. We’re losing some industry in the next few years and we have to bring something back.”

Paul doesn’t expect the Lord government accommodate his idea because of its policy forbidding casinos.

Paul says he’ll apply for a license and if it’s denied, the reserve will go ahead with its plans anyway.

“We’ll build it and then let them take us to court. It will be decided then,” he says.