Bands await Point appeal

Duane Hicks

The four First Nations involved in the court case over Pither’s Point Park could find out next week whether they’ll be able to appeal a judge’s ruling made in late April that the Town of Fort Frances can continue to maintain it until either ownership is determined through the court case or a further order of the court.
Couchiching Chief Chuck McPherson said that the plaintiffs—Couchiching, Naicatchewenin, Nicickousemenecaning, and Stanjikoming—want to appeal the ruling, but first must have permission from the court to do so.
He explained the matter is being debated now, and it will go before the court in Thunder Bay next Tuesday (June 15) to see if permission will be granted.
“We have every confidence it’s going to be granted and every confidence that, in the end, common sense is going to prevail and we’re going to have our Agency One lands back as reserve,” Chief McPherson remarked.
“I have every confidence it’s going to be granted,” he stressed.
As reported in the April 29 edition of the Daily Bulletin, Superior Court Justice John F. McCartney had rendered his decision on the town’s preservation order regarding the park two days earlier.
The town had brought a motion before Superior Court in Thunder Bay on April 22 to attempt to clarify the use of Pither’s Point Park until the legal questions of its use and ownership are answered.
Justice McCartney ordered that Pither’s Point Park continue to be in the possession of the town, and that the town maintain it (as in the past) as a public park until final determination of the court case or further order of the court.
A few days later, Chief McPherson said the four bands were not satisfied with the decision and would appeal the ruling.
The 99-year lease for Pither’s Point Park expired on April 30, 2009.
A couple of weeks prior to then, the bands and the town came to an agreement that the town could continue to maintain the park for another year while both sides worked towards a long-term solution.
Then in February, the bands informed the town they would not extend the agreement again this year—and that the town would have to remove its property from the park by April 30.
The town received Justice McCartney’s ruling on April 27.