Mo­hawk Na­tion ob­jects to ce­ment plant pro­ject

Tribune Express - - NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN

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.

—pho­to Gregg Chamberlain

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