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KENORA, ON, April 11 – Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. announced today that it has completed the transfer of its Tunnel Island property to the City of Kenora. The property, a heritage area representing approximately 300 acres of undeveloped land, is located on Lake of the Woods in Kenora, Ontario, and will be held by the City of Kenora on behalf of the Common Ground Working Group, a partnership between Grand Council Treaty #3 and the City of Kenora, until a final stewardship entity can be legally established to acquire the land.
The Common Ground Working Group is a local initiative comprised of representatives from the City of Kenora, Grand Council Treaty #3 and the three First Nations that formed the original Rat Portage Band: Wauzhusk Onigum, Ochiichagwe’Babigo’Ining and Obashkaandagaang Bay.
Abitibi-Consolidated also announced today the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding regarding the endowment of a second property to the Common Ground Working Group, bringing to approximately 370 acres the total land to be transferred to the community of Kenora. Old Fort Island, the property in question, is located just north of Tunnel Island. Tunnel Island, or Ka-izhe-ki-pi-chiin (a place to stay over) as it was originally known to the Anishinaabe, contains a number of important archeological sites dating back 7,000 years. First Nations people still periodically occupy the site. As a North American crossroads, for millennia the area was a link in the transcontinental water route for First Nations engaged in the fur trade. In the latter part of the 18th Century, the Canadian Pacific Railroad chose Tunnel Island to bridge its transcontinental land route. Tunnel Island also carries the more recent section of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The Common Ground Working Group is currently in the process of forming a legal entity that will manage the heritage area. This legal entity will undertake studies, seek historic site status, engage elders to ensure appropriate respect for the First Nations partners and involve the respective communities in shaping a shared land use plan.
“Abitibi-Consolidated is proud to actively contribute to the Common Ground Working Group and to the future development of this heritage area. We are confident that this initiative will benefit all Kenora area communities,” said Thor Thorsteinson, Senior Vice-President, Newsprint, at today’s special ceremony recognizing the transfer of the property. “We also remain open to finding a similar sustainable solution that will breathe new life into our former Kenora paper mill site, thus helping diversify the regional economy.”
Abitibi-Consolidated is a global leader in newsprint and commercial printing papers as well as a major producer of wood products, serving clients in some 70 countries from its 45 operating facilities. Abitibi-Consolidated is among the largest recyclers of newspapers and magazines in North America, diverting annually approximately 1.7 million tonnes of waste paper from landfills. It also ranks first in Canada in terms of total certified woodlands. Abitibi-Consolidated shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: A) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ABY).
For further information: Denis Leclerc, Director, Public Affairs, (514) 394-3601, firstname.lastname@example.org
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