MPP wants Pinery Park re-opened

The Pinery Park remains closed one week after officials there shut the gates after a duo that says the land belongs to their families and declared plans to occupy it. Lambton Kent Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton bluntly states he wants the Park re-opened immediately.

McNaughton fears if the province of Ontario continues to neglect the situation at the Pinery Park where demonstrators have forced the closure, it will set a dangerous precedent.
“If this continues it can open the door to demonstrations at other Ontario parks,” he told the Lakeshore Advance.
In 2014, then-Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant told the Legislature that George’s claim was “an individual grievance” and not a land claim.”
Bryant noted at that time that the First Nation in the area, Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, had said that they didn’t endorse the grievance and that they have no land claim at Pinery.
On Thursday November 16th, a previously arranged pickup took place at Pinery to remove surplus vehicles that were no longer being used by the park,” said Ministry of Natural Resources spokesperson Maimoona Dinani. Files were also removed Thursday.

Many of the Park staff has also left and Dinani explained, “At this time of year there is a limited number of park staff working in the park.  Staff continues to report to work as regularly scheduled.
Maynard T. George and Hubert George, who live at Kettle and Stony Point First Nation near the park in the Municipality of Lambton Shores, say the Pinery is part of a large tract of land once held by their ancestor, Grand Chief Wabgance that was never properly surrendered.
George said Thursday they’re seeking to have the land returned, as well as a financial settlement.
“We’ve been put in a position where we’ve got no choice but to go forward and take back our land,” George told Post Media.
“There has not been a decision made to re-open the park,” Maimoona Dinani, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, said Thursday in an e-mail.
“This is being monitored on a day-to-day basis.”
McNaughton said a trailer moved onto the park during the incident in 2014 is still there, along with the second trailer set there last week.
“The government has a role in this, and that is to ensure the park is opened as quickly as possible and the rule of law is being followed,” he said.
Pinery Park is made up of 21 square kilometres of land on Lake Huron, near the former Ipperwash Provincial Park where an OPP sniper killed Dudley George in 1995 during a clash between police and First Nation protesters who had occupied the site.
McNaughton said he has urged the government to deal with the situation since 2014 and believes this latest issue is linked to a demonstrator who has made a past claim on the park.
“There’s still a vacant trailer in the park from 2014 and nothing has been done about that,” he said. “Certainly, the longer this goes on the more challenges the government and the people will face down the road. This is an individual acting (and not) the local band council.”
“The people in Lambton Shores, the people of Ontario are being held ransom by one individual.” He said has been told school trips have been cancelled and all campers have been asked to leave.
“The province needs to strongly, clearly enforce the rule of law. At this point they just want the situation to just go away. That is not going to happen and the longer they neglect this situation the harder it will be to deal with.”
McNaughton said he has had many conversations with both the Ministers of Natural Resources and Aboriginal Affairs in the past six days and although they know no one individual can have a land claim, “they just refuse to enforce the rule of law.”

Pinery Park is made up of 21 square kilometres of land on Lake Huron, near the former Ipperwash Provincial Park where an OPP sniper killed Dudley George in 1995 during a clash between police and First Nation protesters who had occupied the site.
Kettle and Stony Point’s land claim for Ipperwash Park and the neighbouring former Camp Ipperwash army base was later settled.

-With files from Paul Morden

Source: MPP wants Pinery Park re-opened | Lakeshore Advance

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