Construction back on track at Couchiching golf course

Construction is once again underway at the Couchiching golf course as protesters there have taken down their camp and gone home.
A group of residents had blockaded construction, setting up tents in the path of heavy machinery and tying ropes to some vehicles, to protest what they claim was a violation of their traditional rights.
Now, having made their point, the protesters have gone home.
“We were getting pretty tired, I saw my children staying there and I thought maybe we could resolve it in a different way,” said protester Florence Foy from her home on the reserve.
“We made our point and that’s what we wanted to do,” she added.
The group set up their blockade last Sunday after discovering the community’s traditional pow-wow grounds and ceremonial arbour had been knocked down and plowed under.
They spent three nights camped out at the site in a tent and traditional-style teepee demanding that an elder, who had been brought in from an outside community to perform traditional rites before the grounds were plowed, come back and speak with them.
“He did come and explained what we weren’t told and he told me that the chief didn’t want us there because we would fight,” noted Foy.
The ceremony, protesters claimed, had been held in secrecy without any local residents having been informed.
The blockade included about 12 people of all ages who sat under umbrellas around a campfire during the protest.
“We had lots of support,” said Foy. “I don’t know whether it’s split down the middle, we have our traditional and non-traditional people.”
The golf course construction has been a contentious issue from the outset as a number of Couchiching residents have opposed the project.
“There’s so many things pertaining to the golf course,” noted Foy. “And there’s still lots to understand for the young people who are losing so much.
“My understanding is we could have used that for homes,” she added. “Our community is growing and people are coming back to the community.”
For now, the site is once again bustling with heavy machinery an according to Foy, any further plans to stop construction is out of the groups hands.
“That’s up to the young people now,” she said. “That’s who we’re listening to and that’s where our concerns are, for our children and our grandchildren.”
Couchiching Chief Chuck McPherson could not be reached for comment.