Tyendinaga residents file suit over quarry operation
BELLEVILLE, Ont. - Some residents of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario have filed suit over what they say is an illegal quarry and an asphalt plant.
The $74 million lawsuit names the Mohawk band council, varying levels of government and the owner of the operation.
A group claiming to represent most of the region's residents allege the projects are causing "irreparable harm" to the environment and people.
Both operations are owned by local resident Thomas Maracle, who says band council is moving to hire legal counsel to defend the action.
Allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court, nor has there been a statement of defence filed by any of the defendants.
The claim alleges Maracle forged ahead with the new quarry pit without concern for the environment and without consulting the Mohawk community.
Further, the lawsuit demands an immediate halt to any activity at both locations until proper environmental assessments are completed.
One of the most vocal opponents to either project, resident George Smart, said launching legal action "was done as the very last resort."
Smart said residents attempted to reach a deal with Maracle, in addition to calling on all levels of government for help.
"Everything we brought to the table as a concern fell on deaf ears, therefore, the people had no alternative to bring a class action," he said.