As a result of our negotiations with Ontario Power Generation (“OPG”) from 2007-2010, our First Nation has been in control of the remediation project along the shoreline to repair the environmental damage along the shoreline and to protect our members from any potential contaminants that still exist.
The steps that we have taken to get to this point have been very significant. With OPG, our negotiating team and advisors worked on first of all determining the extent of the damage caused by the placement of mine waste and mine blast rock along the shoreline when Ontario Hydro installed the rip rap in the mid 1970’s. The process of studying the damage and preparing the report took more than 18 months to complete and has been shared extensively and peer reviewed.
Once the extent of the contamination was examined this group continued to look at solutions to address how to deal with the contamination. After more than a year of additional work design criteria were established on how to repair every area of the shoreline within the First Nation’s reserve boundary that required treatment. This plan identified six different treatment options in twenty-five areas along the shoreline.
After the First Nations membership voted overwhelming to accept the environmental settlement with OPG, work was able to begin on the project. In 2011-2012 most of the site preparation work was began with trees being cleared, trails prepared and access to the waterfront areas began to take shape. 2012-2013 has been all about the preparation of the replacement rock and moving that rock down to the shoreline for installation.
Some work has actually been done along the shoreline. Most of the rock has been placed at Church Point and work at Suckle Creek has begun and will be completed this fall. If water levels subside (and 2013 has been an unusually wet year) then the rest of the work will be done this fall. If the water levels don’t subside then Suckle Creek and Church Point will be completed this fall and the balance of the work will be moved to 2014.
As a First Nation we are very proud of the work that we have done to get this project up and going and we look forward to the result of getting this project completed in the short-term.
For questions about the shoreline restoration project you can contact Henry Waboose, First Nation Manager at (807) 876-2292 ext. 228.