We hope you all are enjoying your summer. What better place to be, especially during the frequent heat advisories, than Killarney. It’s been an especially busy time for the NGBA Board. Here is an update.
The NGBA Annual General Meeting was held July 17 at the Sportsman’s Inn Conference Center. There were actually two meetings, one to close down the previously unincorporated association and one to report on the first seven months as a Canadian Not For Profit Corporation.
In the first meeting, an explanation and a brief discussion was held regarding the recommendation by the Board of Directors to ratify the actions of the unincorporated NGBA Board up to November 7, 2015 and permanently close the unincorporated entity.
In the second meeting:
New ByLaws were approved that kept the spirit of the old ByLaws and added language necessary for the Not For Profit Act. We will be revising these again through this year, please do not hesitate to provide suggestions for consideration.
Finances were summarized for both the operating and land claim accounts,
Membership was summarized as 25 Full, 25 Family and 6 Associate members. An increase in dues to $80 for Full, $110 for Family and $40 for Associate members was approved.
The Board of Directors (and the Officers elected at a subsequent meeting) will be Rob Nairn- President, George Goudreau- Vice President, Michael Porter- Secretary/Treasurer, Bill Riat, Don Rickenbaugh, Freda Klassen and Will Faville.
Committees. The Board, at a subsequent meeting set up several committees. Each will have a director as Chair and members are urged to participate in areas of interest. Respond to this email if you are interested in joining any one of the committees, which are Land Claim, ByLaws, Community Relations, Environment and Historic Preservation, Membership and GBA Affairs.
Georgian Bay Association. John McMullen, president of the GBA, reported there are 18 other member associations and one staff member. GBA is celebrating its 100th year Anniversary in 2016. The common thread between all associations is communication, between Facebook, twitter and email updates. The GBA encourages us to subscribe and join through their website (www,georgianbayassociation.com). The 100th Anniversary Fall Symposium will focus on “What is the Vision of the Georgian Bay 100 Years from Now.”
The Wiikwemkoong Islands Boundary Claim is a very emotional issue. The government foresees the submission to the Treasury Board by the end of this year for approval. It was reported that we must be good neighbours and gave a brief history of the treaties of 1836 and 1862. In 1997 and 1998 the Wiikwemkoong First Nation filed their claim. In 2007 the Ontario Federal and Ontario began negotiations to settle the claim. The Federal government stepped away from negotiations in 2013 due to an overlapping claim brought by another First Nation, the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM). Fitzwilliam Island was part of the original claim by the Wiikwemkoong. It is privately owned and the owner would not sell because he felt the offer was not high enough. As a result, the Provincial government and the Wiikwemkoong found alternate lands to replace Fitzwilliam and these included Phillip Edward Island and its archipelago in addition to land at the intersection of 400 and 637. Our letter writing campaign overwhelmingly objected to inclusion of the alternate lands in the claim.
In November 2015 the Killarney Council met and prepared a memo of understanding to work together with the Wiikwemkoong in the future.
In November 2015 NGBA representatives Rob Nairn and Bill Riat met Ogimaa (Chief) Duke Peltier and another representative of the Wiikwemkoong, together with John McMullen of the GBA for an initial discussion of the boundary claim and its impacts on NGBA members among others. One of the most important conclusions of the first meeting was that the two parties share a vision to protect and preserve the unique beauty of the Northern Georgian Bay Area.
A second meeting with the Wiikwemkoong Chief was held on April 27, 2016 and the outcome of this meeting was a non-binding proposal for rights and responsibilities of cottagers in the NGBA area.
Rob Nairn explained that the NGBA continues to follow a two-track approach, on the one hand we adamantly oppose the extent of the land claim (based on Chief Toma’s map of 1896 which does not include George, the Foxes, the Hawks, Green, Partridge, Centre, Badgeley and others now included in the claim under negotiation). On the other we are engaging in discussions with the Wiikwemkoong to maintain access to the lands within the claim for as many people as possible in the future, should the claim be successful.
The disposition of the Crown Lands requires that the Provincial Government complete an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA includes a consideration of both Social Impacts along with an Environmental Impacts. It seems that the Provincial government may have been convinced to follow a Category “C” EA process (due to the overwhelmingly negative response to the presentation in the September 2015 open houses) and as such are preparing an Environmental Study Report (ESR). It is expected that the draft ESR will be published towards the end of September and then the public will have 30 days to respond. We may request a letter writing campaign depending on the contents of the ESR and whether it addresses our concerns. The final ESR will be published later in the year with another 30-day response period. The claim cannot move forward without approval of the EA Process, so this remains our leverage with respect to the claim.
It would appear that the intention of the Wiikwemkoong is to develop a wilderness park in the Phillip Edward archipelago, and possibly part of George Island. There is no current intention for any form of intensive resource development (such as wind farms, mining, logging, etc.). The Wiikwemkoong would provide the land, money and human resources for the park and Ontario Parks would provide support based on their expertise in managing parks.
Our proposal seeks to maintain our historical access and uses to the lands. It includes a request to lease or buy adjacent lands. It requires a seat at the table for planning of future uses of George Island. It also requests participation in planning of campsites and the planned park in general. In return we would provide our presence and expertise in being the eyes and ears on the ground for the park.
We are in a holding pattern until we can re-engage with the new Wiikwemkoong Council and Chief that were elected on August 20 (Chief Duke Peltier was re-elected) and until we see the draft ESR from the Provincial Government.
Our goal on both tracks of our approach is to have this land as a park for all and forever. If the Wiky are successful in their claim we hope we can help them make the park work as a sustainable approach forever, potentially with government support.
Mayor’s Comments. Mayor Ginny Rook was introduced. She welcomed everyone, made a few brief comments and opened up to a Q and A period. The vast majority of the questions and comments concerned the Municipality’s new Waste Disposal By-Law. The Mayor is trying to set up a Round Table Group to discuss this problem and hopefully her Council will agree to NGBA being a member of that discussion group. In a previous letter, we advised that this group has been approved and the first topic will be garbage. The group will be meeting in August with an update to Council at their meeting in September.
Laura Voltti of MPAC walked us through the property assessment process. Many of you will have received a revised assessment and have additional time to file an objection should you so wish. Laura’s contact information is presented below.
Account Manager | Sudbury & Manitoulin Districts
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
TOLL FREE 877.880.4176 X 225 | DIRECT 705.675.4209 X 225
If you have any questions, please ask. Enjoy the rest of the summer.
The Board of Directors..