County property safe in Algonquin land claim
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | June 8, 2017
Although there are lands in Algonquin Highlands, Dysart and Highlands East included in the Algonquin Land Claim, none of it will be transferred as part of a final settlement.
The Algonquins of Ontario and the provincial and federal governments, recently signed an agreement in principle over Algonquin claims for a large tract of land, and usage rights, in eastern Ontario.
Senior negotiator Jennifer Griffin of the province’s Land Claims and Treaties Section confirmed no local land will be transfered in a letter to planning director Charlsey White.
For some time, White had been trying to find out if any lands would be part of the settlement process. In an interview, she explained that a study of the entire claim area was done a couple of years ago to identify lands that would be suitable for transfer.
“When they came to Haliburton, what I wanted to know was if any of the lands in Haliburton would be classified as available for transfer,” she said. “The letter we got back was that no, none of the lands in
Haliburton—even though they’re within the claim—are part of the transfer.”
If it had gone the other way, it could have had positive and negative impacts for both municipalities, although White was unable to speculate what those might be.
The claim covers 36,000 square kilometres in eastern Ontario that is populated by more than 1.2 million people, according to the province’s website. The Algonquins maintain they have Aboriginal rights and title that have never been extinguished, as well as ongoing ownership of portions of the Ottawa and Mattawa River watersheds and their natural resources.
The settlement could include the transfer of 117,500 acres of Crown land to the Algonquins and $300 million as settlement capital.
If successful, it will become the province’s first modern-day, constitutionally protected treaty.
An agreement-in-principle was ratified in October, but it’s expected to take another five years to finish negotiations, said Griffin. Based on it, public lakes in the settlement area may become private.
Any lands transferred as part of the deal “will be subject to municipal jurisdiction, including the same land use planning and development approvals and authorities as other private lands,” according to the province.
To learn more about the claim, visit ontario.ca/page/algonquin-land-claim.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.