The project to build an oil site on the Odonac Native Reserve in the center-du-Quebec is dividing the Abena community. While some see this as an opportunity to create jobs and wealth, others want to prevent the project from environmental contracts.
The project was initiated by Mohawk Company Original Traders Energy, near Hamilton, Ontario. It is a station aimed at mixing chemicals with gasoline before redistributing it to aboriginal communities in Quebec.
But this is far from unanimous. According to Jacques Watso, the only band council member opposed to the construction, tens of millions of liters could cross through a future site near Route 132.
“We have been green for 15 years. We are defenders of the values of landscape, fauna, flora and traditional abenaki. This is not a viable project for me, my daughter and Odanak children in the long run,” Mr Watso said.
What’s more, the proposed site is next to Kiuna College, a college establishment intended for locals. Opponents of the project, who met Wednesday, said it “does not make sense to build it next to a school that represents the future.” Future youth, not gas. ”
Jacques Watso also received support from the Regroup Vigilance Hydrocarbers Quebec. Its national coordinator, Philippe Duhamel, was on the site on Wednesday to denounce the “idea that was awesome 50 years ago”.
In addition, Councilor Watso wants to send a strong message by organizing a citizens’ march on the territory this Saturday. He also wants to kill two birds with one stone by sending a political message, because it’s election day in Odanak. “We need to put pressure and show that the environment is a priority.”
Abenaki leader Rick Obomsawin was in favor of the structure. The Original Traders Energy community is attracting $ 750,000 a year in royalties and the creation of twenty jobs. But according to him the project is still in its infancy.
“It’s very early in the process. We sent out a pamphlet to inform community members, but also to find out their concerns and their openness toward the project. Respecting the environment and the rules is our number one priority and it always comes up in our discussions with the company,” he told TVA Novels.
Before going any further, the promoters should meet with Odanak residents to answer their many questions. If there is too much opposition, a referendum may take place according to the leader.
“Yes, there are those who oppose, but there are also those who are in favor. Our goal on the board is to ensure the well-being of the community and the creation of jobs,” Mr O’Bomssavin said.
When asked what kind of message the project could send to young people, he said Canada has needed oil for a long time.
And there is the issue of government approval. Although domestic territories are not subject to provincial regulations, Odanak’s “environment and land” section, which is intended to advise elected officials, recommends that the band council apply them anyway. In particular, social acceptance.