| Jul 13, 2006


Feature Article - July 6, 2006

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Feature Article - July 6, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Re: “Land Grab”, Pine Lake North Frontenac.

On the weekend of July 8, residents of Pine Lake , near Ardoch, experienced what some might call a native occupation of the access road for the construction of a cultural center by the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. (AAFNA)

The clearing of the land was carried out in almost complete secrecy. To the best of my knowledge there was no township council meeting where the specific site was discussed, and no public meeting to inform local residents of the plan.

On Saturday, July 8, a newsletter was distributed by AAFNA, stating in part that “Municipal and band council members met on the proposed site several weeks ago to confirm the location and agreed to be mutually supportive of this endeavor”. This is untrue.

Whether accurate or not, this information was months too late. The site was already being cleared of scores of mature trees.

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The newsletter goes on to mention benefits for native and non-native residents of the area. What these benefits might be are generally unknown.

As an ordinary citizen, I know nothing of the legal issues involved. Does AAFNA have the legal right to this parcel? To the best of my knowledge there has been no land claim settlement.

All levels of government have failed to communicate with local ratepayers. If they had nothing to communicate, the situation is even more serious.

In spite of assumptions anyone wants to make concerning my motives in writing this letter, I state categorically that I do not care who is undertaking this project. But I do care where and how.

The location is just plain wrong. Pine Lake is a small, quiet lake; this site for a large public use building is totally inappropriate. As to the process, AAFNA, the township council and the provincial government, which it is claimed, have been involved; have kept the residents of Pine Lake completely in the dark.

If the members of the AAFNA care about relations with the Pine Lake residents, they’re off to a very bad start. - Bruce Mather

Scamp Camp needs donations

Each year, the Kaladar Community Club sponsors Scamp Day Camp, which offers children (ages 4-10) the opportunity to interact with other children for three weeks in August at the Kaladar Community Centre.

Scamp Day Camp is geared to support low-income families, since money is an issue to most families in this rural area. The cost for each child is $15/week, which includes two daily snacks, craft supplies, trips, busing, and staff wages. Unfortunately, the total revenue is not enough to cover the costs of all that is offered. This year, for the first time in 12 years, we have not receivedHRDCfunding for our camp counselors, and unless we can raise approximately $7000 to cover wages for our three counselors and 3 L.I.T’s (Leaders In Training) the camp will have to be cancelled. We are asking local clubs and corporate sponsors to come to our aid. The Kaladar Community Club covers at least $3000 of the total $12,000 budget. The camp has been supporting children locally for 12 years, including Flinton, Kaladar, Northbrook, Cloyne, Arden .

Scamp Camp offers unique opportunities to children that they aren’t otherwise likely to experience, such as cultural, theatrical, and outdoors experiences, and provides a vacation they would not normally get. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. With your support, our children’s camp can still be reality. Help us build tomorrow’s leaders, today.

If you would like to make a donation, we, as a registered charitable organization will issue tax-deductible receipts upon request. Donations can be dropped off at the Kaladar Community Centre, or mailed to: Kaladar Community Club, Box 4 , Kaladar , ON , K0H 1Z0

Time is of the essence. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Glenda Bence, Candice Bovard

Re: Uranium exploration

Your front page last week featured an article on uranium exploration in the Clarendon area. You previously reported the Ardoch Algonquins were in the midst of land claim negotiations with the province and that there was a moratorium on Crown land development in North Frontenac.

Mr. McCance from the Ontario Prospectors Association is quoted as saying that since the new uranium claims fall within the Algonquin claim territory, the mining company would enter into a dialog with the Algonquin representatives.

Here’s the part I don’t get: if the Algonquins have a legitimate land claim, why is the province handing out mining development rights to the same land? The Ontario Mining Act is clear. Should the mining company fulfill its obligations of preliminary exploration they will have the right to bring this land to lease. On this issue they have no obligation to consult with anyone, including Native parties.

Right now the mining company has the right to preliminary development, including clear cutting forests, stripping overburden, trenching, drilling, erecting buildings, making roads and diverting waterways. Their obligation to environmental laws is minimal, as is their obligation to rehabilitate the lands they explore. Mr. McCance correctly did not indicate an obligation to consult or dialog for preliminary work.

Should the preliminary work bring about interesting results the smell of quick riches will be in the air. With no legal obligation to consult with the Aboriginal land claim holders, I can just imagine how long the “dialog” will last.

One only has to look at the stand-offs in Caladonia or Big Trout Lake to see how well the dispute mechanisms in Ontario are working for the Natives. In the case of the Big Trout Lake stand-off, the Natives have been served with a $10 billion lawsuit for interfering with a mining company and defending their land claim position.

Aboriginal land claims or not, it’s business as usual in Ontario .

Peter Griesbach

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