MOHAWK COUNCIL OF AKWESASNE RESPONDS TO SEAWAY INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE CORPORATION’S DECISION TO RELOCATE TOLLBOOTH PLAZA

MOHAWK COUNCIL OF AKWESASNE RESPONDS TO SEAWAY INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE CORPORATION’S DECISION TO RELOCATE TOLLBOOTH PLAZA

CFN – The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne issued the following statement today in response to the Seaway International Bridge Corporation’s (SIBC) decision to relocate the tollbooth plaza to the north end of the new low-level bridge that is being constructed for the Three Nations International Bridge Crossing:

 

The Mohawk Council is opposed to the Seaway International Bridge Corporation’s decision to relocate the tollbooth plaza to the City of Cornwall. The SIBC did not give any consideration to the difficulty that it will pose to the trade and commerce, as well as the recreational and community activities that Akwesasne and Cornwall currently enjoy.

 

According to MCA Grand Chief Mike Kanetakeron Mitchell, “We have already received complaints from the business community and have heard concerns that the location of the existing tollbooth has created challenges for the delivery of goods and services. The complaint is from Canadian-based vendors that have to pay a toll to access portions of Akwesasne that are also located in Canada. The toll has also been an inconvenience for spectators and has hurt attendance at games being held at the A’nowarako:wa Arena on Cornwall Island.”

 

The international border bisects Akwesasne and there is limited access to its northern districts of Kanatakon, Kawehnoke, and Tsi Snaihne. The only way for spectators to attend a sporting event at the A’nowarako:wa Arena or for vendors or customers to access the Peace Tree Mall on Kawehnoke is to utilize the international bridge crossing. They are still in Canada and shouldn’t be charged a toll.

 

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne also questions the need for a toll after the low-level bridge is completed. It is designed to replace the existing high-level bridge that has been costly to maintain. The new bridge is shorter and will require very little servicing, which eliminates the need for a toll to offset its ongoing maintenance.

 

Another point the MCA will raise with the SIBC is that they service two bridges that connect Cornwall Island. If a toll is required, it should be located on the U.S. side of the bridge or the south shore of Cornwall Island, which would make it easier for Cornwall and Akwesasne to enjoy direct business relations.

 

The Mohawk Council stated that the SIBC’s decision to keep the tollbooth in Cornwall doesn’t make good business sense and is shortsighted. It threatens the strong relationship that our community and Cornwall have established and pushes Akwesasne further away from Canada.

 

The Grand Chief added, “Not only is the Canadian Border Services Agency cutting off Akwesasne from Canada, we now have the SIBC doing the same.  It will force Akwesasne to focus on our relationship with our U.S. neighbors and do more business with U.S.-based service providers.”

 

The MCA will press the SIBC to reconsider its decision and remains committed to finding mutually beneficial solutions to Akwesasne’s concerns.

Mayor Bob Kilger of Cornwall had the following to say in a release:

“I believe that there should be no toll at all on the new bridge connecting Cornwall to Akwesasne,” said Mayor Bob Kilger. “It is a position that I believe is widely held in the local business community and around the Council table, and City Council will be considering a motion addressing this issue Monday night.”

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5 Responses to "MOHAWK COUNCIL OF AKWESASNE RESPONDS TO SEAWAY INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE CORPORATION’S DECISION TO RELOCATE TOLLBOOTH PLAZA"

  1. left-or-right   May 11, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Excellent point…how many more potential customers would check out the Peacetree Mall if they didn’t have to pay $6.50 just to do so? At the same time I don’t believe Canadian Customs should ever be located on U. S. soil and should be located in Cornwall at the entrance to the new low level bridge. There appears to be plenty of land at the old Domtar site to work something out. Of course our MP Guy Lauzon has nothing to do with that, which begs the question; what does MP Guy Lauzon do for the citizens of SD & G and Akwesasne? He must have awfully clean hands because he’s always washing them for one issue or another….lol

  2. Everyone's Mess   May 11, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    The MCA argument does not make sense to me; the toll is for using the bridge, not for crossing a border. Yes, the new bridge will cost LESS to maintain, but it certainly won’t be free. Regargless of whether the bridge is configured as it is now, or as the new low level it still requires the same maintenance in terms of salt/ de-icing, painting, asphalt maintenance, etc; and the toll collected goes towards the maintenance of both bridges operated by the SIBC.

    Also, it is my understanding that residents of Akwesasne and anyone doing business with them directly (for example a furniture company making a delivery to an island resident) are currently exempt from paying the toll. Seems to me that the MCA is making a mountain out of a mole hill, yet again.

  3. Katie Boots   May 11, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    It is so aggravating to be a community member who has to cross through three gates to get off the Island. Everyones Mess doesn’t have a clue as to what the business community or community members go through on a daily basis . The Federal Bridge is owned by the Federal Government which has shared the cost of the new bridge so now it becomes a government issue as to whether or not to have a collection plaza . I agree to the logic that it does not serve a purpose anymore with the low level bridge but then again its the federal government who will subsidize the cost of maintenance. It isnt enough that this community has to be harassed by CBSA another federal entity this is all bs. This 5 mile Island this community shares is all the community has since the colonization by Europeans now it just seems too much for the SIBC that they insist on swatting on our land and then make millions of dollars and then press charges of trespassing on our community members . Greedy racist bigots is all I have to say about that . Move your toll plaza and your bridges ..and get off the reservation

  4. Jeremiah Point   May 11, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Thank you Katie. Glad to see people who wish to express their opinions are brave enough to do so without the “cloak” of an “internet mask” to hide their true identity. Usually only leads to them making statements that they would otherwise be embarassed to be associated with. “Talking like they ain’t got no mama.”
    At least the Mayor of Cornwall recognizes that working together would lead to a “rising tide that will lift all boats”. We already know what “not cooperating” will get us. Haven’t we tried that long enough? Let’s try something different and see what happens.

  5. Dave Windsor   May 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Toll Booth Snafu

    Is there any other part of Canada that is segregated at a border crossing from its own
    country? Of course the reference is to that of Akwesasne and Cornwall. The toll acts aan

    unnatural form of divisiveness, antagonistic frustration and a sense of yet another form of control of our beautiful Island peoples. Are we sectioning them off because of the high

    incidences of smuggling, black listing the entire population? Would we do this if it was on say Hamilton Island or if they were white rather than having declared themselves as a

    nation within a nation? These discriminatory tactics cause more angst than any other in my view. We all know they have a get out of jail free card yet it still rubs their craw, as it

    would anyone of us. The north bridge site for a toll is a slap in the face to our Mohawk neighbors and is an unfair place to set the toll. Now is the time to make the right decision.

    If we are to have it at all, it must be placed at the south end even if it is an inconvenience to manage it by having the employees traverse that short extra distance to get to their

    post. I would not want to be held up with extra traffic every time I went to Cornwall for a few groceries. These are Canadians for heaven’s sake, whether they identify with us is

    immaterial. How would you feel if you were in their shoes?
    A solution is plausible. By locating the CBSA on the South end of the South bridge next

    to or as a shared part of the USA Customs, by creating that portion of USA soil as a Canadian Embassy in order

    have the right to bare arms, also place the toll booth at the North side of the South bridge as an extension of the new Canadian Embassy…NOT to allow firearms at that point other

    than standard policing issue for police only who regularly patrol the entire crossing but to provide the Toll Booth with a posted police presence as scrutineers of all activities at that

    juncture. These police of course could be RCMP and/ or an Akwasasne patrol. This would also satisfy Cornwall’s waterfront committee aspirations to

    maintain consistency with the beautification of our waterfront. Failing that then totally eliminate the necessity of a toll at all.

    Dave Windsor
    Cornwall
    613-938-2550

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