Ontario provincial park closed by land claim demonstration partially reopens - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Cloudy
-1.3°C

Ontario provincial park closed by land claim demonstration partially reopens

Pinery Provincial Park sign is seen near Grand Bend, Ont. on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. A southwestern Ontario provincial park closed earlier this month due to what police said was a demonstration related to a land claim has partially reopened to the public.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley
November 28, 2017 - 1:12 PM

GRAND BEND, Ont. - A southwestern Ontario provincial park has partially reopened to the public after being closed earlier this month due to what police said was a demonstration related to a land claim.

Pinery Provincial Park was closed Nov. 9 after demonstrators set up a trailer by the front gate and days later moved it so it blocked the park entrance.

A spokeswoman with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says the park was reopened for day visitors on Tuesday, but it's not known when the year-round park will be fully open.

Jolanta Kowalski says the trailer used by the people who are claiming the park remains, but it has been moved to an area where the ministry now believes it doesn't represent "a public safety risk."

Kowalski says the first two weeks of the closure cost the ministry about $20,000 in lost revenue.

The park near Grand Bend, Ont., boasts about 10 kilometres of sand beach along Lake Huron, 21 square kilometres of forests and rolling dunes. It has been the site of land claim protests in the past.

An Aboriginal family led by Maynard T. George has made several attempts to "repossess" Pinery Provincial Park in past years, saying the land belongs to approximately 100 of his great-grandfather's descendants.

Kowalski said talks continue in an effort to resolve the latest land claim issue.

"We're working to move forward, trying to get a feel for their thoughts, their concerns, sort of better understand their assertions and interests in the park," she said.

In 2004, then Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant told the legislature that George's claim was "an individual grievance" and not a land claim.

Bryant noted that the First Nations 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.

Pinery Park is near Camp Ipperwash, where a land claim demonstration turned deadly in 1995 when a police sniper killed Dudley George — no relation to Maynard George — during a raid on the protesters' camp.

The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation approved the deal with the federal government in 2015 to settle that claim.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile