Thanksgiving Monday protest planned over cleanup from 2015 Gogama train derailment

Travellers on Highway 144 in northern Ontario will be greeted by protesters when they pass the CN tracks near Gogama this Thanksgiving Monday. People from the small town and neighbouring Mattagami First Nation are concerned that not all the oil from a 2015 train derailment has been cleaned up.

People from Gogama, Mattagami First Nation to hand out pamphlets to travellers on Highway 144

Gogama fire chief Mike Benson will be among the people handing out pamphlets on Thanskgiving Monday on Highway 144, to express their concerns over cleanup efforts following a 2015 train derailment in the area.

Travellers on Highway 144 in northern Ontario will be greeted by protesters when they pass the CN tracks near Gogama this Thanksgiving Monday.

People from the small town and the neighbouring Mattagami First Nation are concerned that not all the oil from a 2015 train derailment has been cleaned up.

Both CN Rail and the the provincial Ministry of Environment have stated there are still traces of oil in the waters around Gogama, but that it poses no danger to people or wildlife.

"They're not doing anything. They want to monitor, they want to watch it. I don't understand. It's poison. It's not going away," said Mike Benson, the fire chief in Gogama.

People in the area are ignoring the science that shows their local waters are safe, said CN Rail, adding that the company believes any further clean-up attempts could be more harmful to the environment.

Recent tests in the Makami River found oil in all 27 samples, but only two were above provincial standards, said Benson.

A closer aerial westward view on March 7, 2015 of a CN train derailment site near Gogama. (Transportation Safety Board)

Participants in Monday's protest, which is expected to happen at 11:00 a.m., are planning to stop cars briefly to hand out pamphlets he said.

"There's going to be a lot of people on the highway, travelling back and forth. It's going to be very little inconvenience for them, but we're going to be able to get our message out to a broader audience."