Wiikwemkoong Islands Boundary Claim Settlement – GBA submits detailed response to Ontario’s Environmental Study Report (ESR)
GBA submitted a detailed response to the province’s ESR, and a request for a bump-up in the level of environmental review applied to the proposed settlement, in light of important public interest issues that the ESR failed to address.
GBA supports this land claim settlement. Moreover, together with the Northern Georgian Bay Association, we have been working constructively with Wiikwemkoong to ensure that the Philip Edward Island Archipelago becomes a park, with ongoing access for all, including thousands of canoeists, kayakers and campers who have traditionally enjoyed these pristine lands.
GBA’s ESR response urges the province to support the park proposal. It also addresses the government’s failure to follow a process that is consistent with the core aims of First Nations reconciliation and inclusive public consultations, addresses the interests of all stakeholders, and meets its obligations under environmental assessment procedures.
Read the full ESR repsonse: GBA Response to IAO Final ESR Nov 15 2019 with Part II Order
Summary of GBA’s ESR Response
GBA has two primary objectives:
- Help finalize an agreement between the Wiikwemkoong, NGBA and GBA which addresses both the park issue and the needs of NGBA members; and
- Achieve a clear agreement among all stakeholders for Philip Edward Island and its Archipelago to become a park, in order to guarantee protection of this ecologically significant area for all time, for all people.
In the Environmental Assessment process the Ontario government has failed to respond or assist in any meaningful way with the above requests from NGBA and GBA and the ESR has failed to:
- Address identified impacts;
- Identify and develop mitigating measures; or
- Afford an adequate consultation process
Therefore, GBA has provided detailed comments and recommendations on the following matters in our response on the Final ESR:
- Impacts of the proposed transfer of Crown Lands on NGBA members and others, and proposed solutions;
- Failure of the Class EA process to provide measures to mitigate impacts – and to acknowledge our Wiikwemkoong-NGBA/GBA agreement;
- The Province’s long-standing promise of a Park covering most of the area within NGBA’s boundaries;
- The shortcomings and failures of the Draft ESR and the Class EA process;
- An alternative approach – the modified Fitzwilliam Island alternative; and
- Lessons learned from the Algonquin Land Claim.
We have put together the following background information on the Wiiky Lands Claim