SAUGEEN FIRST NATION, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON)
and Enbridge Ontario Wind Power LP today are signing an agreement on heritage
and environmental issues regarding Enbridge's wind farm now under construction
in Kincardine, Ontario.
The signing is at 11:30 am today at the Saugeen FN Band Office, east of
The Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project is a 181.5 megawatt wind farm in
the Municipality of Kincardine. About one-quarter of the project's
110 turbines are expected to be operational by the end of 2008, with the rest
supplying green energy to the province's power grid by the end of that year.
- The SON and Enbridge agree to certain principles that will govern
their relationship. The agreement defines the ways in which the SON
and Enbridge will work together.
- The Agreement does not excuse the Crown from its legal duty to
consult and accommodate the SON.
- The Agreement sets out the ways in which the SON rights and interests
in the area are protected, including:
- identification and protection of heritage sites
- protection of ecological components valued by the First Nations
- The SON and Enbridge agree to a monitoring program over the life of
the project. At certain intervals during the 20-year project, the
parties will re-measure the baseline data collected at the start of
the project. In this way, data will be collected on the true impact
on fish and wildlife of a large wind farm over a span of time.
Chief Randall Kahgee of the Saugeen First Nation says, "We're looking to
the long term with this agreement. We're very pleased at how responsive
Enbridge has been to our concerns for the environment and to our need to
ensure our rights are protected for future generations. However, a major
player was absent from the table and that is the Crown. We are deeply
concerned about the state of the law on consultation and accommodation in
Ontario. Without the active participation of the Crown in these matters, the
climate will remain uncertain for business and for the public."
"We hope that this Agreement will set a standard that others who wish to
do business in our traditional territories will follow," says Chief Ralph
Akiwenzie of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. "Not only does it
protect our interests in the area, but it protects the environment as well."
Background to the Saugeen Ojibway Nation:
The Saugeen Ojibway Nation consists of the Saugeen First Nation and the
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. The traditional lands of the Saugeen
Ojibway Nation encompass some two million acres, east from Lake Huron to the
Nottawasaga River and south from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to the
Maitland River system. The traditional waters around these lands include the
lakebed of Lake Huron from the shore to the US border and the lakebed of
Georgian Bay to the halfway point.
In addition, the First Nations have proven commercial fishing rights in
their traditional waters, and maintain aboriginal rights to hunt, fish and
gather in all their traditional territories. They also have two major land
claims before the courts: one is an aboriginal title claim to the lake beds of
the traditional waters; and the other affects the whole of the Bruce
Peninsula, including the land under navigable rivers and lakes.
In 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada handed down two decisions (Haida 2004
SCC 73 and Taku 2004 SCC 74) that clearly laid out the law on the Crown's duty
to consult First Nations before doing or permitting anything that might impact
on a First Nations' rights, claims and way of life.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
members of the media/
For further information:
For further information: Saugeen First Nation, Chief Randall Kahgee,
(519) 797-2781; Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Chief Ralph
Akiwenzie, (519) 534-1689; David McLaren, Environmental Office Coordinator,
Saugeen Ojibway Nation, (519) 534-5507 (office), (519) 374-9210 (cell)