Cornwall Island customs facility gone

Traffic heads south on Akwesasne International Road, seen here on July 31, 2015, past the former location of the CBSA customs facility. Two buildings were recently levelled in a joint venture between an Akwesasne and a Cornwall company. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL ISLAND – A constant reminder of the tensions in 2009 between Akwesasne community members at the Canada Border Services Agency is gone.

The customs facility at 90 International Road on Cornwall Island (just south of the International and Island Roads) has been demolished.

The work was carried out over several weeks by East End Auto Parts and Construction of Akwesasne and Demolition Plus of Cornwall in the joint venture project.

The work was carried out for Public Works and Government Services Canada, which held title to the buildings, and was awarded under a special procurement strategy for aboriginal business.

The contract was awarded June 1, 2015 to the two companies for $327,150, according to the government contract. The work supposed to be completed within nine weeks, which would have been August 3, 2015.

The demolition included the two buildings – the Customs Warehouse and Traffic Building – as well as the traffic booths and the canopies.

A spokeswoman for Public Works and Government Services Canada told Cornwall Newswatch the buildings are down and cleared away, however, there is still some work to do including piping, utility duct and other debris that needs to be removed from the site. That should be done by late summer.

Traffic heading north on Akwesasne International Road, seen here on July 31, 2015,  temporarily has to detour around the site of the old customs building after two companies levelled the buildings under a joint venture project. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)
Traffic heading north on Akwesasne International Road, seen here on July 31, 2015, temporarily has to detour around the site of the old customs building after two companies levelled the buildings under a joint venture project. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

The buildings have been vacant since July 2009 after CBSA guards vacated their post. Tensions flared at that time between the community, concerned about its safety, and the guards who were supposed to be armed with handguns under a federal plan.

The CBSA checkpoint has been in Cornwall ever since with its most recent incarnation on the canal lands east of the new low-level bridge.

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