OPG returning four St. Lawrence River islands to Mohawks of Akwesasne

In this Google Maps image, Sheek's Island, southeast of Long Sault, Ont. is among four islands Ontario Power Generation plans to return to the Mohawks of Akwesasne. The other three islands are in Edwardsburgh-Cardinal and South Dundas. (Google Maps via Newswatch Group)

AKWESASNE – Four islands in the St. Lawrence River are being returned to the Mohawks of Akwesasne as the final piece of a settlement agreement with Ontario Power Generation.

Three of the islands around the Edwardsburgh-Cardinal and South Dundas municipal boundary are Prison Island (known as Adams Island), west of Cardinal, and Presqu’ile and Toussaint Islands, west of Iroquois.

The fourth is Sheek’s Island (also known as Sheiks Island), southeast of Long Sault.

The deal, under the federal Additions to Reserve Policy, is still being worked out by all parties.

In a statement to Newswatch, Ontario Power Generation says this is part of the final settlement agreement reached between OPG, Akwesasne and the federal government in 2008.

Under that agreement, OPG formally apologized for damage to the community from the 1958 construction of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam and paid a $20 million lump sum followed by nearly $2.6 million a year for 10 years for a total of nearly $46 million.

Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, South Dundas, South Stormont and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry have been notified of the deal and have until June to comment on the proposed land transfer.

“All parties are actively participating in the process,” said Neal Kelly, director of media, issues and information management for Ontario Power Generation.

“No transfer date is set at this time,” Kelly added.