First Nations and Municipalities sign landfill agreement
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Official signing of Agreement
(L) Nawash of Cape Croker Chief Scott Lee, Mayor Kathi Maskell of Hanover, Mayor David Inglis of Brockton and Chief Randall Kahgee of Saugeen Ojibway Nation
'A Cultural Handshake'
Chief Scott Lee, Mayor Kathi Maskell, Mayor David Inglis and Chief Randall Kahgee
Landfill expansion in the municipalities of Hanover and Brockton is expected to lead to better environmental monitoring and also toward a positive relationship between the municipalities and local First Nations.
On Monday morning (May 7) in the Saugeen First Nation Band Council Chambers, the Mayors of Hanover and Brockton and the Saugeen Ojibway Chiefs signed a landfill agreement that will protect the health and rights of residents of the municipalities
and the First Nations.
Hanover and Brockton have been working for several years on a landfill expansion plan, including, an extensive environmental assessment.
Since 2010, the Towns have also been consulting with the Saugeen Ojibway Nations about how to address the First Nations’ concerns about the project.
Chief Randall Kahgee signs first copy of agreement
“The landfill is located upstream from our community on the Saugeen River,” says Chief Kahgee, “and the Saugeen River is our lifeblood. Our people have used that river and its water for thousands of years. That is why we share the same name as the River - it was
the hub of our life, our “Highway 401” and our grocery store. We still depend on the river today and we want it to make sure it gives life to our grandchildren, too.”
Chief Kahgee said that the "... signing of the agreement is a good day". "This is another positive example of parties coming together .... we have more in common than not and we do not have to let the past confine us. Those things we share in common will help build healthy communities in the future. I am very pleased about this as it is always a challenge to do this kind of thing."
The Saugeen Ojibway's own environmental experts reviewed the project and conducted scientific peer reviews on environmental and archaeological aspects of the landfill while providing input into the plans for long term environmental monitoring.
Chief Scott Lee
“This is a happy day for us,” said Chief Scott Lee of Chippewas of Nawash (the other Saugeen Ojibway band). “We were encouraged to find out that we shared a common vision with our municipal neighbours in Hanover and Brockton. We share a commitment
to protect the river and the fish. We share a dedication to protect the health of our communities and share an awareness of how much we depend on good water to live and thrive. What got us here today is that we also share a willingness to proceed in a practical and positive fashion to work on those common goals.”
The agreement between the Bands and the Towns ensures that the Saugeen Ojibway will continue to be part of the long term environmental monitoring for the landfill and obligates the Towns to cover the environmental reviews done by the bands. The
agreement also opens the door for the bands and the Towns to bring together their public works staff to share best practices for waste management and environmental monitoring if they wish to do so at any time in the future.
Mayor Kathi Maskell
"The whole process of consultation has shown all our people that we want our air and water to be healthy", said Mayor Kathi Maskell of Hanover, "and that we want to protect our environment and are looking at our landfills in particular. This is a significant day and we appreciate the opportunity be here."
Mayor David Inglis
Mayor David Inglis said that, as a young boy, he fished, swam and rafted down the Saugeen River. "I know that the Saugeen is now in better shape than it was and this is a good thing that we come together to protect it. This has taken some time but we are at a successful conclusion."
According to Chief Kahgee, "It has always been our objective to protect what is ours and pass it on for the next seven generations."
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Monday, May 07, 2012