Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau says CN is trespassing on reserve property.
But she might be willing to forgive and forget if the railway agrees to reopen the James Street Swing Bridge, which has been closed to vehicular traffic since last October.
“CN is currently trespassing on at least two road allowances that were exempted from the original appropriation in 1906,” Morriseau said in a release issued late Friday afternoon.
The original agreement was signed between the city of Fort William and the Grand Trunk Railway, whose lines were taken over by CN last century.
Morriseau said a survey indicating the locations of the road allowances was provided to CN which identifies FWFN reserve land, adding CN does not have proper authority to cross them.
“Although the 1906 order in council speaks to the railway having the right to lay tracks across the lands excepted from the grant, it is our opinion that no compensation was ever provided to this right and give that the lands are still reserve lands today, CN requires an Indian Act S. 28(2) permit or an S.35 right of way to cross our First Nation. CN has neither," Morriseau said.
Morisseau said the reserve might be willing to talk if CN upholds what she feels are its legal obligations to the original agreement and reopens the bridge.
CN, FWFN and the city met on Thursday, both making proposals for a solution. They are expected to meet again on Monday.