In response to a pamphlet put out last week by the Town of Fort Frances, a proposal for Point Park from the Agency One bands (Couchiching, Mitaanjigamiing, Naicatchewenin, and Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nations) has been put forth online.
The information can be found at agencyonelands.godaddysites.com/f/our-proposal-for-the-point-park
“Our position on the park lands is simple,” the site states.
“First, the park lands belong to our First Nations," it notes. ”That shouldn't be scary. We are your friends and neighbours.
“Second, we are happy to share the park lands with the town,” it adds.
“Everybody's kids will have somewhere to swim.”
The site then outlines five points regarding “the best way to move forward," and encourages readers to "please have a look, talk with us and with your fellow citizens, and let's work together to get this done.”
The points include:
- “The town would recognize our ownership of the lands [this is essential for us; lands have been slipping from our grasp for too long]”;
- “Our nations will commit, through annual ceremonies and in legal documents, to share the park lands with the town, and to always welcome all people to use and enjoy them”;
- “We'd all work together to manage the park”;
- “We'd all share the operating costs”; and
- “The utilities, roads, etc. would continue on as they are.”
“In exchange, we would expect the town to stop suing us over the park, drop its costs motion, and agree that Seven Oaks would be part of the new reserves we are working on,” the site states.
“That's it. No tricks, no hidden agendas," it reads. ”It's a generous offer, and the best path towards reconciliation.
“And it's so much better than spending millions of dollars on lawyers to fight this out in court.”
The site also suggests having a first-annual ceremony/celebration at the park this summer, and urges those in favour of the idea to contact Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis and town council to let them know that.
The site also has a link to click on so the public can offer their input.
Meanwhile, the pamphlet put out by the town last week outlines its position, and points out the town is the owner of the two-chain road allowance although the question of ownership of the Point Park remains unresolved.
However, as per the April 27, 2010 decision of Justice McCarthy of the Ontario Superior Court, the Point Park continues to be in possession of the town pending a final decision on ownership.
The town reiterated its commitment to preserve the Point Park, and the roads providing access to it, for everyone to use and enjoy.
It also said it “has made many attempts to settle these matters” but its proposals to date have been rejected.
“However, the town will continue to seek solutions that will preserve the park use as it has existed for over a hundred years,” notes the pamphlet.
The pamphlet also mentions a lawsuit filed by Couchiching First Nation against the owners of the dam here.
While the Times has confirmed a document has been filed at the Fort Frances Courthouse, no other information was available at this time.