Band Ends Blockade of Road to Cluff Lake

Tuesday, September 07, 2004 at 14:55



A spokesman for Cogema says commitments made to a First Nation to end a blockade near La Loche will not hurt other communities in northwest Saskatchewan.


The Clearwater River Dene Nation ended a week-long roadblock of the highway to the Cluff Lake mine Friday evening after meeting with company officials.


Cogema’s Alun Richards says they’ve promised the band what he calls an equitable number of jobs from the mine’s decommissioning, including some new positions that the company is going to create.


However, Richards says the deal with the Clearwater River band will not take decommissioning jobs away from other northwest communities.


Richards says the main thing the First Nation got out of this was a formal guarantee for plans that were already in place.


Richards also says this situation with Clearwater River was a unique one, but admits he’s concerned that other communities might be tempted to block a highway to get additional benefits.


Richards says the bottom line is that blockades are illegal and hopes the authorities treat them as such.


The Clearwater River band put the blockade in place over concerns its members weren’t going to get enough jobs from the mine’s decommissioning.