Grey County and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) have reached an agreement settling Grey County’s involvement in SON’s long-standing legal action in relation to parts of the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula. The agreement settles a claim launched by SON approximately 25 years ago and is a positive step towards fostering further cooperation and reconciliation between Grey County and SON.
The claim went to trial in 2019. After several years of discussions, Grey County and SON have reached a settlement that includes the transfer of approximately 275 acres of County forest in Georgian Bluffs known as the Mountain Lake forest property.
Grey County is the first municipality involved in the claim to reach a settlement. SON will continue to pursue its legal claim against the five remaining municipalities and the federal and provincial governments. The full terms of the settlement are confidential, but Grey County has included the property in the settlement in the spirit of reconciliation, and without any admission of liability on the County’s part.
“This settlement provides some closure to a long-standing claim, but I hope it can also be the beginning of more conversation, more understanding and a stronger relationship between Grey County, SON and the Anishinaabe people,” said Grey County Warden Paul McQueen.
“This agreement is an important step forward in a long history of our communities working towards righting a wrong,” says Chief Lester Anoquot of Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. “We are happy and hopeful that we are taking this step with our neighbours towards building a better understanding and a stronger future alongside one another.”
Chief Greg Nadjiwon of Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation says, “The recognition of our connection to and ownership of our lands throughout our territory has always been the objective of our struggle and our legal claim. It is important and meaningful to us that this agreement includes Grey County conveying lands at Mountain Lake to settle their portion of our claim.”
Grey County Council must formalize the land transfer by passing a by-law at its next meeting on October 8. County staff will be reaching out to the community and will host an online information session about the land transfer in October. After the transfer is complete, the property will continue to be subject to all regular land use planning policies and procedures.