Lake Huron beach at centre of dispute between First Nation and Ontario municipality

The world’s second-largest freshwater beach is at the centre of a dispute between a First Nation and an Ontario municipality.

Sauble Beach runs along the eastern shores of Lake Huron, on the northern edge of Saugeen First Nation and through the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

Saugeen Chief Lester Anoquot says the beach is “not a land claim issue — it’s a boundary issue.”

“It’s very specific in our treaty that the boundary starts here at our border of Saugeen, and ends at nine and a half miles north, which would be 6th Street North, Sauble,” he says.

Anoquot says the disputed boundary has been unresolved for too long.

“We’ve attempted mediation for the past six years,” he says, adding South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson has not agreed to settle the dispute out of court.

“So we’ve put a summary judgement motion forward and presented to the courts,” he explains. “We expect to be in court to address the issue of boundary within six to nine months.”

Jackson declined to speak with APTN News.

But in a recent Facebook post she stated her disappointment over the matter.

“This Summary Judgement asks the Court to rule in their favour without going to trial,” she explains to her constituents.

Jackson also writes: “We have spent nearly 150 years building a vibrant community around our beach. Simply because he claims the beach belongs to his Band, doesn’t mean we should hand over the keys.”

Anoquot said that’s not exactly what he has in mind.

“Not a lot will change with the landscape,” he said, explaining the two businesses operating in the disputed area could lease the land from Saugeen. “Or we could do it ourselves.”

Anoquot said public access to the beach would remain the same, but that the band would move to prohibit vehicles from the beach, calling the common practice in South Bruce “an issue of environmental hazard and safety.”

The new motion is scheduled to be heard next year.

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5 thoughts on “Lake Huron beach at centre of dispute between First Nation and Ontario municipality

  1. Mayor Jackson is probably aware that it is not a simple matter. “Just hand over the keys” is simply a political bid for political support.

    In 1990 it was the position of the Federal Department of Justice that the beach belonged to the Saugeen Band. They were prepared to go to court on behalf of the band vs the Township of Amabel (now part of South Bruce). The case was taken over by the band in the 90s. As far as I know neither the band nor the Department of Justice have changed their position.

    Recently the owner of the Crowd Inn stated that a patent was issued for the lands he claims to own and therefore his title is unassailable. That would be the case except for the fact that the beach is part of an Indian Reserve as established by Treaty in 1854. The (then) Department of Indian Affairs was not legally entitled to issue Patent for the land in question as it was an Indian Reserve. There is no other way to look at that fact. The Patent was illegal and therefore the title to the beach still lies in the Saugeen Band. Compensation by the Federal Government and/or the Ontario Government is certainly due the owner of the Crowd Inn; title is not.

    Mayor Jackson certainly knows what the firm of lawyers they hired thinks about the case. Why not have a public meeting explaining the above? Ask the lawyers what they think their chances of prevailing on behalf of their clients might be. They certainly have had enough time to do their research. The township is paying a great deal to fight the Saugeen Band. I’m sure most people could think of a better use for taxpayers’ dollars.

  2. 150 years building a new community? All I can say is, nice start. Maybe build without stepping on the necks of the people there for thousands of years?

    Bravo to SFN.

  3. If this upsets you,you had better do some googleing and find out what land the first Nations own in Ontario. Our
    Government has done little but screw them for over fifty years
    Between the residental schools , the posion waters, and,taking thier kids away from them, We need to hang our heads in shame. We need to do better, we need to tell our government that they have to do better

  4. Every time we have protested to saved our water or our land or fight the turbines, “site#41,” the megadump”
    Our native people have been there to support us. We had some come from the west.I have nothing but the greatest respect for them. It s a wonder that they woud come to support us.

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