By Lynda Powless
Amid threats of a possible protest shutting down Toronto’s GO train service Metrolinx, who operates Toronto’s GO line, says they have opened talks with the Haudenosaunee Development Institute. (HDI)
At Premier Doug Ford’s press conference Friday (August 26) media questioned if a Haudenosaunee protest shutting down the rail service was in the offing .
Metrollix CEO Phil Vester said Metrollix is now working in discussions with the HDI. “We have been working very closely with HDI for many, many months now, since last year,” he said.
He said “HDI, are quite reasonably bringing issues for discussion.”
He said the issues span areas of the rail corridor.
“As you can imagine our rail corridor is an existing corridor, there are some extensions we make, which is within the rail corridor already, but there are definitely items of work on bridges over waterways where we should, and must consult.”
He said they have an agreement to meet with HDI later in August. “We made a proposal on how to get an agreement and a relationship from here onwards. We already agreed with HDI on monitors to attend our projects. I am very confident we will find ways to work with HDI. ”
He said they work with 30 First Nations across the network. “This is really old stuff for us. We consult and work very closely on sensitive archeological digs, any monitors are funded by us. We’ve got a good program. I’m confident we will get to an agreement with HDI,” said Verster .
Metrolinx is an Ontario agency tasked with improving modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
The HDI told Metrolinx they were launching environmental assessments starting Sept. 20 on the Hamilton to Toronto GO line warning there could be disruption of the GO transit service as a result.
The HDI, is an arm of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) at Six Nations of the Grand River. The HDI said starting Sept. 20 it would conduct its own environmental assessments to look at “how Metrolinx operations are impacting recognized treaty rights.”
HDI representatives are also meeting with the City of Hamilton on an environmental monitoring agreement after shutting down a dredging site at Kay Drage Park in the city last week citing environmental concerns. The HDI said it would send its own environmental monitors to watch the work when the city failed to consult.
The city had said it was in consultation with local First Nations communities on the work but could not indicate what communities that was.