Mohawk Nation objects to cement plant project
Serge Simon, Grand Chef du Conseil Mohawk de Kanesatake, déclare qu’un projet de cimenterie près du village de L’Orignal pose un risque environnemental potentiel pour sa communauté, en aval de la rivière des Outaouais et soulève également la question des droits ancestraux. Il a promis de faire appel de la demande de zonage pour le projet à la Commission des affaires municipales de l’Ontario et demande également au gouvernement fédéral d’intervenir en la matière. There won’t be a full hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board until September 2018 on a controversial cement plant project near the village of L’Orignal. It may not even take place if the leader of the Mohawk Nation has anything to say about the matter.
“This is not just a local issue anymore,”
said Serge Simon, Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, to Richard Makuch of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Friday morning in counties council chambers in L’Orignal.
The OMB scheduled the Sept. 1 meeting as a preliminary gathering of all sides concerned in appeals on Colacem Canada Inc.’s rezoning application for property near L’Orignal. The company wants to build a cement plant there and faces opposition from both Champlain Township council and Action Champlain, a grassroots community group, about the environmental and other impacts of the project.
Makuch, who chaired the meeting, stated that the earliest date possible for a full hearing on the matter is September 2018 with a five-week window kept open then, to allow all sides to present arguments and witness testimony.
“The best I could do for you is a year from now,” Makuch told representatives for all the parties involved in the current appeal process.
Grand Chief Simon told Makuch that the Mohawk Nation was never consulted about the proposed project. He expressed concern about the potential environmental impact of the plant’s effluent on his community which is located downstream along the Ottawa River. He indicated that the issue of aboriginal rights should take precedence over an economic development project.
“Colacem is going to have to answer some serious questions,” said Grand Chief Simon.
He cited Section 35 of the Constitution Act concerning First Nation rights and noted Canada is also signatory to various international law agreements dealing with the rights of indigenous peoples. He stated that he will contact federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna on the matter and also take it to the Prime Minister’s Office “if necessary”.
There are two appeal applications before the OMB dealing with the Colacem cement plant project proposal. The company is appealing Champlain Township council’s rejection of the rezoning application. Action Champlain, a local community group, is appealing the decision of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) to accept the rezoning request.
There are also a number of individuals living in and around the L’Orignal area who have also registered with the OMB as interested parties in the appeal process and their opinions will be included in the board’s review of the appeal applications next year in UCPR council chamber starting Sept. 4 at 10:30 a.m.
The OMB will suspend the hearing on Sept. 12 and 26 which are the days when the UCPR council has its regular meetings. Jim Walsh of L’Orignal, one of many residents interested in the future of the cement plant project of Colacem Canada, reviews a document during a pause in the Sept. 1 preliminary hearing session of the Ontario Municipal Board, in counties council chambers.