Toll booth taken down from highway


Band assured
issues will
be dealt with

FORT FRANCES—The controversial toll booth Couchiching First Nation had erected on Highway 11, just west of the Noden Causeway, was taken down Monday night after the band received assurances that contaminated soil will be dealt with and the affected home owners relocated.
As well, there will be negotiations about the Highway 11 corridor running through Couchiching.
“Our community is claiming victory” Chief Chuck McPherson said in a press release the band issued Tuesday morning.
“We have received a commitment to relocate eight home owners from contaminated lands to newly-serviced lots on our reserve, and also a commitment to negotiate suitable compensation for the highway claim,” he noted.
Band members voluntarily removed the toll booth just before 9 p.m. on Monday.
The toll booth first went up on May 21 and in the 10 days since, the band said the $1 toll had been collected from more than 14,000 vehicles travelling the highway.
The band had vowed the booth would stay up until the federal and provincial governments adequately addressed compensation for the land Highway 11 sits on and the identified contaminated soil at the former J.A. Mathieu sawmill site.
Meanwhile, the OPP said it maintained open lines of communication and a good working relationship with the Couchiching chief and council during the time the toll booth was up, and that liaison officers will continue to communicate with all parties on this and other matters.
Officers will continue to monitor the area.
OPP also said it would like to thank motorists for their patient during the period when traffic flow was delayed.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)