Over the past few weeks SCOI has received questions from cottage owners asking for clarification on whether they will be able to stay at their cottages until the end of November in lieu of not being allowed to come to our cottages in May. This was something Chief Anoquot raised in one of his early Facebook messages and with SCOI in the early days of COVID-19.
We have also received questions from cottage owners who do not have another Canadian residence, asking if the Band would allow them to overwinter at their cottage if it is winterized.
We asked these questions of the Chief and Band Council. Given all of the other community issues the Band Council has been dealing with, it has taken some time to receive a response. However, we did hear back from the Band on Friday, October 23rd.
The Band Council has decided that there can not and will not be a November extension. Our leases are with INAC (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) and, at present, it is not within the purview of the Band to make changes to the lease.
The existing lease does allow for individual cottagers to stay through November and December, if they pay a monthly fee equivalent to one sixth of their annual lease amount.
This can be arranged through the Lands Management Office (519) 797-3039. In addition, the lease does allow all cottagers to be at their cottage for up to 10 days per month from November to April.
The Band Council has decided that there can not and will not be a November extension
“homeless Canadians”, those who have no other Canadian address, would not be given permission to overwinter at their cottages.
The Band Council also made a decision that “homeless Canadians”, those who have no other Canadian address, would not be given permission to overwinter at their cottages. Although no direct reason was given for this decision, we believe the Band is being cautious, given the increase in Covid cases in the Province and the reintroduction of Provincial restrictions in some areas. As in the Spring, they are erring on the side of caution in order to protect their own members. Many of you may have noticed that the large Covid 19 signs that were taken down from the entrances to the Reserve in August have now been put back up. It is also worth noting that there have been no COVID-19 cases reported by the Band.
We have also learned that about a dozen cottagers, who declared themselves to be “homeless Canadians” in the spring and took up residence in their cottages, were subsequently found by the Band to have a Canadian residence. This means those cottagers lied to the Band. The Band, however, did not discover this until well after all cottagers had been allowed to return to their cottages. It is unfortunate that some people took advantage of the very generous and immediate decision by the Chief to allow those who did not have a Canadian residence to come to their cottage in spite of the fear and uncertainty that prevailed at the time.
The SCOI Board met last weekend and was presented with this information. The Board members condemn this behaviour. The actions of a few are disrespectful to the Chief and Band Council as, in an expression of trust, hospitality and goodwill, they extended a generous offer in a time of emergency.
The SCOI Board wishes to make clear that the actions of a few cottagers are entirely inconsistent with the strong and respectful relationship SCOI has worked hard to develop with the Band leadership over the past few years.
The actions of a few are disrespectful to the Chief and Band Council…
These are entirely inconsistent with the strong and respectful relationship SCOI has worked hard to develop with the Band leadership over the past few years.
The Board has no interest in saying more on this matter other than to inform cottagers that our relationship with the band is based on mutual trust and a respectful relationship. We do not know if the Band will take any further action. We should all remember that as trust is central to our relationship with the Band and actions which do not build trust can have consequences for everyone.