Land claim dispute settlement closer

Saugeen Shores and Saugeen Ojibway Nation are getting closer to settling a 25-year-old land claim dispute.

The dispute when to court in 2019 and closing arguments were heard in October of 2020 but a ruling has yet to be issued.

The two sides have been working on an out-of-court agreement and in a release both sides say they “view it as a positive step towards fostering further cooperation and reconciliation between the municipality and SON.”

“We look forward to continuing to moving forward with our neighbours in the spirit of cooperation,” said Chief Lester Anoquot (Saugeen First Nation).

SON’s traditional territory stretches from Goderich to Collingwood, including the Bruce Peninsula. In 1836 the British Crown pressured SON to surrender 1.5 million acres with the promise they would protect the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula forever. But just 18 years later the Crown asked for the surrender of the peninsula, a move SON claims was a breach of duty and alleges the Crown misled them in negotiations.

SON is now seeking the return of lands owned by the province and the federal government or lands that have not been bought by third parties, including some municipal road allowances and shore road allowances.

“The Town is very pleased with the positive progress towards settling this long standing land claim,” said Town of Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “We look forward to our continued work with our friends and neighbours at SON on this settlement. I hope this is the beginning of a path forward for our communities to build a stronger shared future.”