Thunder Bay

Ministry told Darlene Necan she could buy the land for her home

Necan is a member of the Ojibways of Saugeen First Nation and is currently homeless.​ She faces charges under the Public Lands Act for building a home on land where her family home once stood, 20 kilometres south of the reserve.

Spokesperson says MNRF tried for nine months to find a "mutually agreeable solution"

A spokesperson for the minister of natural resources and forestry says the ministry offered Darlene Necan a chance to buy the land where she's building a house, prior to charging her with violations of the Public Lands Act.  

Necan is a member of the Ojibways of Saugeen First Nation who is currently homeless.

​​She began building the house last year on land where her family home once stood, 20 kilometres south of the reserve near Savant Lake, Ont.

She now faces potential fines of thousands of dollars.

Enforcement officers tried for nine months to come to a mutually agreeable solution, said Todd Lane, press secretary to Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Bill Mauro, but Necan did not accept any of their offers.

"Officers met with the individual and offered the woman some solutions to try to balance and help the woman as best they could within the confines of the legislation that currently exists," Lane said.

"She did not accept any of the offers that we had made to try to resolve the situation, and after numerous attempts ... after nine months of effort with the individual, a charge was laid."

"One of the offers that we did make is the offer (for her) to purchase the land, and go through the process to get the necessary permits and everything."

Asked by the CBC how much Necan would have had to pay for the property, Lane said the cost would have been worked out with the MNRF district office.

"On average, if we were to do cottage lots, for example, and to sell it to a commercial developer, of course it's based on market value. However I wasn't privy to those discussions, and from my understanding the discussion on that front did not go extraordinarily far."

CBC News asked Lane about other offers the MNRF made, but he said he "wouldn't want to go into everything as it is before the courts."

MNRF also reached out to the local First Nations band when the issue came to its attention, Lane said.  

"We're always open to solutions. There's nothing worse than a person in need. I know that the tone of the story is less than positive obviously, but our ministry didn't do this lightly, and we attempted to work with the individual to solve her specific issue. ... We really wanted to make sure that we took a balanced approach. Unfortunately, because of the fact work still continued and we couldn't come to a mutually agreeable solution, unfortunately we had to take the actions that we did."


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