Cornwall Ontario – Bob Kilger, the Mayor of Cornwall Ontario, stepped up to the plate and showed some leadership in this crisis today by sending a letter to Luc Portelance Executive Vice-President of the CBSA and Grand Chief Mike Mitchell of Akwesasne. It was cc’d to Minister Peter Van Loan suggesting that Mediation be used to resolve the Seaway International Bridge Crisis.
Seeing no evidence of any progress as Winter edges closer Mr. Kilger consulted Cornwall City Council and drafted the 3 page letter which also was sent to Minister Chuck Strahl and SD&SG MP and head of Caucus Guy Lauzon. I caught up with Mayor Kilger this afternoon and he still expressed the opinion that there will be no quick solution and that the “temporary” station at the foot of Brookdale will be in operation for quite awhile.
He pointed no fingers of blame and simply wanted a resolution for the sake of Cornwall and residents of the area.
Here is the letter from Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger to CBSA Executive Vice-President Luc Portelance and MCA Grand Chief Mike Mitchell.
Re: Canada Border Services Agency / Cornwall Temporary Plaza
For a number of months, the City of Cornwall has closely monitored the situation regarding the Port of Entry on Cornwall Island and the temporary plaza established by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall. As you are well aware, the City of Cornwall is not directly involved in the discussions that have been held between the CBSA and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA). We are however a significant stakeholder in this matter and we have been in regular communication with both CBSA and MCA representatives. We believe it is in all parties’ best interests to see this situation resolved as soon as possible.
In all dealings on this matter, the City of Cornwall has stressed the importance it places on the international border crossing between Canada, the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne and the United States. The border crossing is important for many reasons including, but not limited to, economic development activities and transportation access between the three jurisdictions in question. Although the current temporary CBSA plaza in Cornwall has allowed the border crossing to be open, space constraints and traffic management challenges do not allow this operation to run as efficiently as the CBSA facility on Cornwall Island.
The City of Cornwall has been extremely cooperative in making our municipal infrastructure available to ensure the Port of Entry is open on Brookdale Avenue. These temporary arrangements cannot continue indefinitely. In this regard, every effort must be made to resolve the outstanding dispute.
In our discussions, we have listened attentively and with great understanding to the positions of the CBSA and the MCA with respect to the current situation. Regrettably, while considerable dialogue has been exchanged and meetings have been held during these past many months, we have yet to see any substantive progress having been made to resolve the current situation.
We firmly believe that the time has come for the CBSA and the MCA to recognize that an alternative approach is needed to resolve the current situation. Towards this end, we respectfully request that the CBSA and MCA consider agreeing to mediation to resolve this matter.
Since the closing of the Port of Entry on Cornwall Island earlier this year, the City of Cornwall has received considerable media attention as a result of the dispute between the CBSA and the MCA. This is not the type of media attention the City seeks nor does it project the positive profile we strive to promote for our community. We have taken various measures to ensure that our position in this matter is well known in our community and, consistent with this approach, my office will be issuing a Media Release in the very near future to address the issues raised above. The Media Release will specifically include a public call for the CBSA and the MCA to enter into mediation as an effective way in which to resolve the current situation.
The ability of the CBSA and MCA to come to an agreement is very important to many interested parties in our region, not the least of which are the citizens who live and work here. Through this correspondence, the City of Cornwall is attempting to move both parties forward in a positive way to deal with the issues at hand. I trust you will understand the City’s position in this matter and that you will give our request your serious and favourable consideration.
c. The Hon. Peter Van Loan, PC, MP
The Hon Chuck Strahl, PC, MP
Mr. Guy Lauzon, MP
Cornwall City Councillors”
What do you think Cornwall? Do you think this letter and that of the Chamber of Commerce will edge the parties together and resolve this crisis?
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