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April 18, 2007
The Province of Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro today signed letters of understanding with the community councils of Cross Lake and Norway House signifying the conclusion of negotiations for agreements to address the impacts of past hydroelectric developments on the two communities.
“I want to congratulate the two community councils for the hard work they have done as outlined in these letters of understanding and although there remains work to be completed, I look forward to the communities receiving these benefits,” said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Oscar Lathlin. “These letters of understanding also mark an important next step for both communities as they continue to work toward greater levels of self-governance by becoming incorporated as Northern Affairs communities under the Northern Affairs Act.””We also wish to recognize the diligence and commitment of the two community councils,” said Bob Brennan, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro. “We acknowledge the leadership of the councils from Norway House and Cross Lake in helping us reach this significant stage in the negotiations.”
The next step in this process will include community consultation meetings regarding the proposed agreements in the communities and consultation with the province and neighbouring First Nations.
“This important step on the road to self sufficiency marks the ongoing partnership between the province, Manitoba Hydro and the community to assist in the economic, social and political development of Norway House Community Council,” said the mayor of Norway House, Cristo Spiess. “We are committed to ensuring a prosperous future for our residents and will continue to build on the historical significance of this community.”
“The signing today is an important step towards addressing the negative impacts suffered by our people as a result of hydroelectric development,” said Clarence Smith, mayor of Cross Lake. “Although it has been a long wait, I am most pleased to sign the letter of understanding and we will now be able to move on and address the many social issues that exist in our community.”
The proposed final agreements to which the letters of understanding relate will provide Norway House Community Council with approximately $9 million and Cross Lake Community Council with approximately $8 million, for a total of $17 million.
The agreements also include provisions related to consultation on possible future hydro developments, community development lands and resource management.
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