by Bob Burtt
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment will meet with the company that wants to build a $275-million wind farm in Melancthon and Amaranth townships and First Nations representatives later this month.
But a woman from the Six Nations Confederacy who claims the land is rightfully owned by the Six Nations won’t be there.
The meeting will be held as part of an environmental screening approvals process – and apart from a claim by some Six Nations members who have filed a notice of seizure that lays claim to ownership of the land in Melancthon where 45 wind turbines have been erected.
The notice of seizure filed by Kahentinetha Horn, a member of the Six Nations Confederacy and resident of the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal, includes a claim to own the turbines as well as the land itself.
In an earlier interview, a ministry official said the environmental screening process had been put on hold because of the claim by Six Nations women who describe themselves as women title holders.
In an interview this week, Anne O’Hagan, a spokesperson for Environment Minister Laurel Broten, said the ministry is going ahead with the environmental screening.
She said the ministry consults with First Nations people on all environmental assessments because First Nations people have a fundamental interest in the environment.
There have been 14 requests for the ministry to undertake a more comprehensive review of the second phase of the project, but O’Hagan said none of those requests were from First Nations groups.
Horn said she had not been notified of the meeting at the end of the month and has not yet received a reply from Canadian Hydro concerning requests for information concerning the first phase of the project.
She claims the company had no right to build the first or second phase. The first phase involved 45 turbines and the second includes a proposal for 88 turbines.
Canadian Hydro said delays in the environmental screening would add about $10 million to the cost of phase two, bringing the total cost for the second phase of the project to about $275 million.
The company said it is continuing to work its way through the environmental approvals process and hopes to start construction in 2007.
A spokesperson for the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat said the province is treating the Notice of Seizure issued by Horn and the women title holders as a letter to Canadian Hydro and will take no action on it.
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