Cement plant in L'Orignal: Kanesatake First Nation wants to be consulted

Spread the love

Cimenterie à L’Orignal: Kanesatake First Nation wants to be consulted

Colacem Canada wants to build a cement plant next to a quarry it operates in L'Orignal, in eastern Ontario. The project is valued at $225 million. (File photo)

Another voice wishes to be heard in the file of the controversial project to build a cement plant in L'Orignal, in eastern Ontario.

The Kanesatake First Nation deplores the fact that it was not consulted in this matter.

According to members of this Aboriginal community in Quebec, the project is close enough to cause environmental impacts . They believe that governments have an obligation to consult them.

Recall that the company Colacem Canada wants to build a cement plant next to a quarry it operates in L'Orignal, near Hawkesbury.

Kanesatake First Nation is concerned that a cement plant built in the village of L'Orignal could negatively affect the health and economy of the community by contaminating waterways and local wildlife, elements central to her culture.

She shared her concerns during a recent meeting with the Agency for Canada's impact assessment.

To say it just affects Kanesatake is an understatement, because it runs along the river and there are other First Nations downstream. And to say that they informed or consulted First Nations within a 200 kilometer radius is a lie. I am 63 kilometers from the site and we have not been informed, said Grand Chief Victor Akwirente Bonspille, in an interview with Radio-Canada.

Grand Chief of the Kanesatake First Nation, Victor Akwirente Bonspille.

The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake has written to the Ontario and federal governments asking them to withhold plant approval until communities are consulted.

< p class="e-p">I don't understand why a government that pushes for reconciliation doesn't stand up and say, ''You know what? We made a mistake. [Leaders] must sit with us as a respected nation, be open to dialogue and hear from us, adds Grand Chief Victor Akwirente Bonspille.

Citizens' group Action Champlain is also pushing for an independent environmental assessment of the project to be conducted. The anti-cement plant movement has been seeking for several months to have the Colacem Canada cement plant project designated under the federal Impact Assessment Act of 2019.

This would make it possible to determine whether the cumulative emissions expected at the Colacem site will exceed environmental standards.

A sign installed by opponents of the cement plant along Route 17. (File photo)

A request to this effect was submitted to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, on August 30, but the latter refused, at the end of 2022, the group's request to reassess the project.

The Minister recalled that a decision, taken in 2019, stipulates that the designation of the project requested by Action Champlain is unjustified, adding that the decision was based on information provided by the proponent and scientific advice from federal experts.

Since there have been no material changes to the project, there is no need to review the decision, Mr. Guilbeault in a letter addressed to the director of Action Champlain.

Gary Champagne, member of the Action Champlain group opposed to the cement plant project in L'Orignal, in eastern Ontario .

The greenhouse effect and toxins don't stop at Prescott-Russell. The question of the cumulative effect is not just the fact that there are going to be 800 metric tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions that are going to fall, it is; is that it will be like that from year to year, for 50 years, retorted Gary Champagne, a member of the collective Action Champlain, this week, in an interview with Radio-Canada.

The MP for Glengarry-Prescott and Russell, Francis Drouin, believes that the Colacem company, behind the project, could have been more transparent to the public.

That's what I regret. It is the complete absence, the total absence of the company. Then I'm like, ultimately, “Is this the kind of business I want to have in my community, when they don't even want to engage with the community at all?” community? he wondered.

The MP for Glengarry-Prescott and Russell, Francis Drouin (File photo)

The member is not optimistic and does not feel that the decision will be reviewed.

I think that, on the legal side, we went all the way, we did what we could, he confided.

The Council of Mohawks of Kanesatake now hopes that all steps taken will lead to serious consultations on the cement plant project.

With information from Chantal Dubuc

Previous Article
Next Article