Friday, July 31, 2015

Town wins ‘two-chain’ ruling

A decision on the “two-chain shore allowance” came down late yesterday afternoon, with Justice J.S. Fregeau ruling in favour of the Town of Fort Frances.
Justice Fregeau ruled that the strip of land—two chains in width—along the shore of Rainy Lake from just before the Ranier bridge to the Nanicost Building, extending along Couchiching FN reserve, is a public highway vested in the Town of Fort Frances.

Justice Fregeau dismissed the claims from the plaintiffs—Couchiching, Naicatchewenin, Nigigoonsiminikaaning (formerly Nicickousemencaning), and Mitaanjigamiing (formerly Stanjikoming).
The four bands were seeking compensation for the 33.9 acres of Couchiching land which Highway 11 was built upon decades ago.
The province and federal Department of Indian Affairs originally negotiated an exchange of the 44.5 acres within what’s historically known as the two-chain shore allowance.
The bands had said this original survey of the two-chain shore allowance was done erroneously because the person commissioned to survey the neighbouring Agency One Reserve back in 1876 included land that already was part of the Couchiching reserve.
As well, dam construction in the early 1900s meant only nine acres of the original 44.5 acres exists.
The plaintiffs were looking for a declaration that the lands referred to in the two-chain allowance form part of the Agency One Reserve.
But Justice Fregeau dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim for a declaration that the strip of land—from the 1876 high-water mark of the Rainy River and Rainy Lake and immediately adjacent to the Agency One Reserve—forms part of that reserve.
He also dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim for a declaration that any portion of the two-chain strip included in the Oct. 1, 1908 surrender of part of the Agency One Reserve was within this reserve prior to the surrender.
The “two-chain” hearing was held last Feb. 19-March 28 at the Fort Frances Courthouse.

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