Six Nations councillor wants staff in front of development decisions

By Victoria Gray

Writer

First Nations development negotiations are reactionary, but Six Nations Elected Councillor Wendy Johnson wants Six Nations to get in front of those policy discussions, or staff should step out of the way and let council do it.

The Six Nations Elected Council’s (SNEC) Consultation and Accommodation Process (CAP) Team submitted its monthly progress report to SNEC Political Liaison committee April 25th and were told the team needed to get in front of discussions at the company or municipal level.

Although the report is not available to the community, or media, it was discussed broadly. Johnson pointed to Sun Canadian Pipeline Limited, who is replacing a section of its petroleum product pipeline that crosses Sixteen Mile Creek.

Sun-Canadian is proposing to replace approximately 480 metres of the existing pipeline near the creek crossing with a new section of pipe. They plan to install that deep enough that it will get rid of three existing areas of shallow pipe. Part of the pipeline replacement will happen outside of the existing easement with a new path to install the pipe with a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD). Construction of the replacement pipeline could start as early as the summer of 2022 and be complete by the end of 2022.

Johnson said the company has pledged to send a management plan for Six Nations’ consideration, but that’s not good enough.

“Once they get it here, at that point, it’s done. It’s kind of after the fact,” she said. “It goes back to this process, if we need more political process on the front end versus the backend. These things are already in place. The decision has been made. What can we do after that? Whether it be letters from the chief’s office or what have you. I think there needs to be more on the front end of this rather than after the fact.”

Robin Vanstone, the CAP Team’s supervisor questioned what she meant, or how they could go about that, but Johnson brushed her off and asked someone else to explain because she didn’t want to take the time to do so.

“Is there anyone else that understands the comment I made? I don’t want to take up a whole lot of time,” she said.

Elected Chief Mark Hill said Johnson was asking the team to get involved in the creation of the management plan, rather than having accommodation made later and they may need councillors to step in.

Vanstone pointed out that they have asked for help, but Councillor Nathan Wright told them he was too busy to attend meetings.

Wright did write into the Zoom chat that he was no longer busy and could attend some meetings.

Johnson continued to push involvement in planning stages.

“If we’re developing a drill management plan at the front end we can mitigate what that means to us, if anything. To be part of fluid management rather than sitting waiting for the plan to come to us, and when construction is happening we have monitors there,” Johnson said. “If we’re getting involved, but the signage is approved and ready to be erected it’s the backend. We’ve lost all leverage. We need to be a part of it before it happens.”

Johnson also said she doesn’t think the CAP Team is capable of this without more political involvement, which leaves the team unnecessary and redundant.

“This is a big of an issue with cap. I firmly believe that we have technical team doing political matters. Until we address that, we’re going to have issues,” she said. “It’s nothing to do with individuals, it’s not people it’s a process issue. We will keep running into it until, hopefully we have technical people doing technical things and politicians take on political matters.”

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