MNO Land Use Study for East West Tie Project complete

MNO Land Use Study For East West Tie Project Complete
(Top row: left-right) Jean Camirand, Roger McGuire,
Kevin Muloin, Trent Desaulniers, Peter Ducharme.
(Middle row: left-right) Paul Turpin, Aly Alibhai,
Jacqueline Barry, Madeline Denhardt, Adena 
Vanderjagt, Cameron Burgess, Patrick McGuire,
William "Torch" Gordon, Robert Graham. (Kneeling:
Philip McGuire) Click here for larger picture.

MNO Land Use Study for the East West Tie project is now complete following a series of focus groups held with Métis land users in February and March, 2017.  The study looked at Métis land use in the area of the East West Tie transmission line, which is proposed to run approximately 447 kilometres between Wawa and Thunder Bay in the MNO’s Lakehead, Nipigon, Michipicoten and Historic Sault Ste. Marie traditional territories.

The Ontario Government has included the construction of the East West Tie transmission line in its Long Term Energy Plan in order to meet the anticipated future increased energy needs of Northwestern Ontario. In 2013, NextBridge LP was designated by the Ontario Energy Board to develop and construct the line.

As reported in the March 2017 edition of the Métis Voyageur, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) entered into an agreement with NextBridge to enable the MNO to inform its citizens about the project, explore the impacts of the project on Métis rights, interests and way of life and review the project’s Environmental Assessment.  To this end, in December, 2016, the MNO Lands, Resources and Consultations (LRC) Branch retained the Calliou Group to undertake a land use study of the project area. 

As part of this study, the Calliou Group and MNO LRC Branch held focus group sessions in Marathon and Thunder Bay, on February 13 and 14, 2017, to inform MNO citizens about the project and learn about their use of the lands.  The session in Marathon was attended by MNO citizens that use the eastern portion of the project area lands, while the session in Thunder Bay was attended by MNO citizens that use the western portion of the project area lands. These focus groups were followed up with data verification meetings on March 22 and 23, 2017.

Altogether 24 MNO citizens attended the focus group sessions and completed the surveys for the Land Use Study Report. The very valuable and helpful contributions of MNO citizens during these focus groups is greatly appreciated by the respective Consultation Committees, the LRC Branch and the MNO as a whole, because this input not only adds detail to MNO’s database on Métis traditional land use in the area and further increases our understanding of how citizens exercise their Aboriginal rights, it also helps to support the ongoing consultations with the Ontario government regarding this project.

The results of the Land Use Study Report will be included in the Environmental Assessment of the East West Tie project, which will be reviewed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change later in 2017.

Posted: June 12, 2017

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