Mayors Want Seat at Blockade Negotiations

Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 13:22



Some northern mayors hope Cogema includes other northwest communities in the negotiations to end a blockade on the only road to the Cluff Lake mine.


The Clearwater River Dene Nation put up the roadblock just north of La Loche on Friday over concerns about how the company awarded contracts for the mine’s decommissioning.


Chief Roy Cheecham says because his community and the village of La Loche are plagued with such high unemployment and are the closest communities to the mine, he feels they should get all of the available general labour and heavy equipment jobs.


A consortium of several northwest communities was awarded one of the available contracts.


Buffalo Narrows mayor Bobby Woods says leaders from those communities want jobs for their residents, as well.


Woods says he understands Cheecham’s point of view, but doesn’t think it’s right for any one community to get the lion’s share of the jobs.


Both Woods and Ile-a-la-Crosse mayor Max Morin feel Cogema, the Clearwater River band and other affected northwest communities have to sit down together to resolve this situation.


Morin says if that doesn’t happen, there could be more unrest.


The blockade on highway 955 is only stopping commercial vehicles — local traffic is being allowed through.