NOTE: all figs in Canadian dollars (trading at $1.44 give or take, right
Stalemate dogs Hydro settlement
Winnipeg Sun, Thursday, February 10, 2000
By ROBERT WILLIAMS, STAFF REPORTER It will take more than $9 million in
arena maintenance funding to repair damage done to Cross Lake First Nation
by Manitoba Hydro, says Chief John Miswagon.
"The damage that has been done to the environment and our way of life is
forever. Therefore we need something to replace what we lost on a long-term
basis," he said.
On Tuesday an arbitrator ordered Manitoba Hydro to establish a $9.1 million
trust fund for the band by March 10, with interest to be used for arena
The utility was ordered to build an arena and provide maintenance funding in
1982 under the Northern Flood Agreement (NFA). Money set aside recently ran
out so the two sides agreed to establish a trust fund, said Hydro spokesman
They disagreed on the amount of the fund and the matter was sent to
arbitration in October.
Cross Lake wanted $27 million; Hydro offered $9.1 million.
The $27 million included the cost of the arena, maintenance fees plus
interest since 1982, said Miswagon.
The arena maintenance issue is only one of many issues still to be worked
out between the two sides regarding the NFA, signed in 1977.
The agreement requires Manitoba Hydro and the federal and provincial
governments to help five bands affected by Lake Winnipeg regulation and the
Churchill River Diversion Project.
Four bands accepted one-time payments, but a $100-million offer Cross Lake
was ready to accept was thwarted after a new council was elected in 1997.
"They've indicated to us they don't really want to reach a settlement,"
Miswagon said the band didn't want a 20-year agreement, but something that
will last in perpetuity.
"I don't know what amount of money will make it an economically viable
community, but it will take a heck of a lot more than $100 million," he
Hydro officials meet with members of Cross Lake twice a month to discuss the
agreement. They continue to fund and support a number of programs in the
Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson said the provincial
government will meet with Cross Lake's council in a few months to come up
with a solution to the NFA stalemate.