Wahta Chief Franks confirms talk with Clement in September re Bala Falls after sending PM letter last week stating Clement unresponsive
Published October 7, 2014, updated with Swift River reaction 6:10pm: Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement today issued a statement in reaction to a letter charging he has failed to contact Wahta Chief Philip Franks to hear concerns about Bala Falls. In an October 3 letter to the Prime Minister and Ontario’s Premier (read letter here), Franks states Clement never called him in September despite media reports that he had. According to Clement, Franks now says the conversation did happen on September 13.
The statement from Clement’s office reads: “Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement would like to correct statements being reported today in local media regarding Bala Falls and Wahta Mohawks Chief Philip Franks. On September 13, 2014 at 11:07a.m. MP Clement and Chief Franks spoke over the telephone. The conversation was at the request of Chief Franks. This morning, October 7, 2014, MP Clement`s office contacted Chief Franks by phone. He confirmed the September 13 conversation, and noted MP Clement had offered his assistance in the matter.”
Swift River Energy also responded to the letter today. In a statement, the company wrote: “we would like to take this opportunity to dissolve further miscommunication and achieve clarity on this issue. We have responded directly via a letter to the Wahta Mohawks to address the inaccuracies revealed today in correspondence. All information provided to the Wahta Mohawks in the May 2012 Addendum to the Environmental Screening Review Report was indeed factual and current.”
Also reported today by the radio station, The Moose, is the letter District Council (click here to read it) had been asked to draft in September asking Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) to consider not acting on its October 20th entrance permits to the North Bala Falls crown site. The company plans to begin preparatory site work and has the permits in hand. At the District Meeting September 17, Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty asked that the developer be requested to hold off on site work, saying his experience has shown him that the type of work that needs to be done could easily be completed “in five days.”
The request from Doughty came after a lengthy discussion, and after CAO Michael Duben explained that the entrance permits, which had already been delivered to SREL, could not come up for discussion again for six months. That’s according to the District’s procedural bylaw. Six months would push yet another District discussion (District has spent several hours of discussion about the permits at committee level and at at least two District Council meetings) about entrance permits to December 2014. In his delegation, Chief Franks had asked that District add a resolution to its agenda that evening that included a refusal of permits until Duty to Consult by the federal and provincial governments had been fulfilled, but no District Councillor made a motion to entertain the resolution. Instead, staff was directed to write letters to the developer and the province.
In that same September District meeting, Muskoka Lakes District Councillor Allen Edwards asked District to seek confirmation that the Wahta Mohawks have been consulted to their satisfaction.