Oka land deal reached
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | 12:37 PM ET
An agreement in principle has been reached to put an end to tensions over land in Oka, Que., that was claimed by the Mohawk community of Kanesatake.
The town of Oka has reached an agreement to buy the disputed land from Norfolk Financial, the real estate promoter that had hoped to build there. The land is adjacent to the disputed pine stand that was at the heart of the 1990 Oka Crisis.
The news was confirmed in a statement released by Oka Mayor Richard Lalonde on Tuesday and follows a meeting between the mayor and Norfolk president Normand Ducharme on Monday.
Ducharme has agreed to stay off the land until the deal has been finalized.
On Friday, Ducharme and other Norfolk representatives were met by angry Mohawk protesters when they showed up to mark trees to be cut. Provincial police officers intervened to restore calm after about 30 Mohawks shouted at Ducharme and the others and struck their vehicle.
Ducharme defended his actions saying that he was only exercising his rights as owner of the property.
Ducharme had said he would be willing to sell the property for $400,000.
Norfolk acquired the land in March 2009 from a company that owed it $100,000 in mortgage loans.
The1990 Oka Crisis flared up after provincial police and later the army were asked to intervene in a dispute between the town and the Mohawk community over plans to expand a golf course onto land the Mohawks claimed was traditional burial ground. Quebec police officer Marcel Lemay, 31, died during the dispute. The standoff lasted 78 days.
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