sfn to host sauble beach celebration
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SFN to host Sauble Beach celebration

Saugeen First Nation is hosting a celebration of its historic court victory next Sunday at North Sauble Beach.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, SFN updated community members about the future of that stretch of beach, while also challenging some claims by the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, most notably its decision to appeal the court’s ruling.

“The mayor offered tobacco to Chief (Conrad) Ricthie and acknowledged that all Sauble Beach should belong to Saugeen First Nation. He stated that the Town did not intend to appeal,” reads SFN’s account of an April 14 meeting. “Four days later, the Town announced that its Council voted unanimously in favour of an appeal. That shocking reversal was deeply hurtful and the disrespect of the tobacco that was offered caused all out council a great deal of distress… That is not in the spirit of reconciliation. Their fear of what might happen with the beach in Indigenous hands is misguided and wrong. We are very confident the judge’s current decision is correct and will be confirmed on appeal.”

SFN also criticized South Beach Peninsula for repeatedly claiming it had “unresolved questions” pertaining to the boundaries of the reserve per the court’s ruling.

“The court was very clear that the north boundary of the reserve is ‘at the approximate mid-way point of Lot 31’… and the east boundary if ‘lying to the west of Lakeshore Boulevard North.’ We embrace the court’s conclusion on that point and agree with it entirely: the beach if part of the reserve but no lands east of Lakeshore Boulevard are included, just as we have always said. A formal survey of those boundaries is still required and would be welcomed by Chief and council, but in the meantime, there is no doubt about where the boundaries are for practical purposes,” the statement said.

Despite the stated issues with South Bruce Peninsula, Saugeen First Nation says it has been in regular communication about the shared interest of good beach management.

The band also said it is committed to keeping the beach open and safe while protecting the natural ecosystem. To accomplish that, council says it has assembled an advisory team and is working with the federal government to obtain equipment and resources for beach management.

CKNXNewsToday.ca’s requests for comment from Town of South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Garry Michi and Saugeen First Nations Chief Conrad Ritchie have not yet been returned.

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