Stirring the Pot on Fort William First Nation Land Claim Settlement

Satellite View Fort William First Nation
Satellite View Fort William First Nation

Satellite View Fort William First Nation
Satellite View Fort William First Nation

THUNDER BAY – LETTERS – I’m sure this will stir the pot a little. So lots to think about regarding the $99,000,000 settlement offer.

I’ve been hearing that a full distribution is what everyone wants.

I would like to think that our community is more forward thinking then that and that we at the very least look at building a new bridge.

Although many may think that a few thousand may be a life changer, however the reality is that it’s not.

However a bridge can change the lives of many, especially the ones in an emergency situation.

Many can also sit there and argue that CN is responsible and that the bridge issue is for the City of Thunder Bay and CN to hash out.

However, how long is this going to take and what will be the end result is anyone’s guess.

Personally I say we take control of our own situation and build a bridge.

So here’s what I propose.

First, we need to get permission from I’m thinking Transport Canada to shut down the ability of large ships going past the existing swing bridge.

From what CN told us in one of our meetings in Calgary, the need for ships to pass no longer exist. We should talk to existing stakeholders such as Resolute.

Two, CN agrees to fully fund the dismantling of the cantilever or road portions of the existing swing bridge.

Three, the City of Thunder agrees to drop any interest in the existing contract with CN as well as any and all future legal action. This could save the City in upwards of a $1,000,000 in legal fees.

Four, the City of Thunder Bay agrees to cover any cost incurred to connect the new sections to their existing roads and any work needed on existing roadways leading up to the new bridge sections.

Five, Fort William and its members agree to build two separate bridge spans connecting the north bound and south bound lanes. Which affectively replaces the old cantilever roadways.

Six, we hand over ownership and responsibility for the two new bridges over to the City of Thunder Bay.

Thoughts:

We could charge a small user fee or toll to recover the cost of the build. 10000 cars a day use to cross the bridge.

We can charge CN a toll to cross our two portions of land they cross that are ours. At a substantial rate.

We will eventually be taxing CN later once our Taxation system is in place and thus recover costs there.

We will also have more interest in leasing opportunities as a shorter commute is more attractive. This will bolster tax revenue as well as customer base for our existing business’s.

So In my opinion this would be the most economical and logical way to link FW with Thunder Bay.

Other areas need substantial infrastructure such a rights of ways and roads as well as the ability for ships to pass underneath. This will send the idea of building a new bridge into the hundreds of millions.

As far as I am concerned, we need to stop waiting for others to come to our rescue and take care of our own.

We have a unique opportunity here and I hope we make the right decisions.

Wyatt Bannon
Fort William First Nation