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The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) will meet with the mayor of Chateauguay next week to discuss a proposed housing development project that will border both communities.
The proposed housing project would be directly adjacent to Parcel E, which is at the very end of Old Chateauguay Road (OCR) heading towards Chateauguay.
According to MCK chief Gina Deer, discussions between both communities regarding the housing project have been ongoing since 2018.
“We determined that it’s important we do a SWOT analysis of this project,” said Deer.
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to project planning.
“We really need to try and assess the impacts to Kahnawake,” she said of the meeting next Tuesday, November 3. “We already know that the traffic is a very big issue – this is a huge project, so there are different layers of concern at the table – and in order to make a fully-informed decision, we would need to get these things done,” said Deer.
Pierre-Paul Routhier, mayor of Chateauguay, said that when he initially approached the MCK, he submitted a tentative proposal that would have seen Maple Boulevard extended through Parcel E all the way to Chemin St. Bernard.
“The late grand chief Joe Norton said no to that proposal. And I completely understand because it would have increased traffic flow in the area going towards OCR,” said Routhier.
The Maple Boulevard road extension has been removed from the project and stops at a roundabout within Chateauguay.
“We are currently doing feasibility studies, and out of respect for the Indigenous community of Kahnawake, I reached out to MCK to submit our project,” he said.
The proximity between the two communities was increased when the Transport Quebec returned Parcel E to Kahnawake as part of the agreement to return 700 acres of land following the extension of Highway 30 in 2018.
Aside from concerns over increased traffic flow, Deer said that MCK is worried about the potential changes to the landscape, environment and impact to the flora and fauna in the area.
“I will answer all of the MCK’s questions (during the meeting), and if there are serious concerns that force us to review our project, I am willing to listen,” said Routhier.
The mayor said that ever since his election, he and his team have worked very hard to improve the relationship between the communities and wants to continue to work with that collaborative spirit in mind.
“We also would like to know what are the MCK’s future plans for their land (Parcel E), which is adjacent to our proposed housing project. Because we want to build houses and a neighbourhood and that requires a sort of peaceful tranquillity,” he said.
Deer said that at this time Council does not have an answer to that question.
Potential flooding within both territories is also an issue that must be addressed, according to Deer.
“Believe me, it’s high on the radar for Council, and we will take a very serious look at it. We should have a statement coming soon after the analysis is done,” said Deer.
Both Deer and Routhier stressed the importance of both communities working cooperatively and in collaboration.