The City of Kingston has been discussing the Third Crossing Project with the interested indigenous communities since 2009. The City of Kingston and the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs also co-own a property on the Cataraqui River, Belle Island. As a result, the state of consultation is rich and proceeds on a working partnership level.
The Canadian constitutional framework takes into account the pre-existing interests of Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The City of Kingston acts as the agent for the Federal and Provincial Crown on this project and has a resulting obligation, based on the inherent honour of the Crown, to accommodate affected indigenous interests. The twin duties to consult and accommodate with Indigenous Peoples form the constitutional path that court rulings have provided to explore and resolve those claims.
As a result, projects like the Third Crossing of the Cataraqui River must be assessed for their impact on Indigenous interests which might be identified by the applicable indigenous community to ensure those interests are not unreasonably imposed upon. This assessment should also be undertaken mindful of the opportunity to strengthen relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Rather than being seen as simple technical steps towards project success, these inquiries have been intended to be undertaken in that spirit of hope, respect, trust, curiosity and friendship that the dignity of the relationship requires.
The City has undertaken consultation with a number of indigenous communities which have local ties. The Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs has been a key consultation partner on the Third Crossing Project, providing rich input especially during Environmental Assessment. Additionally, meetings with Alderville First Nation and the Huron-Wendat of Wendaki have been undertaken for over a decade, including community representation during field studies. These same communities also continue discussions held with other departments of the City on cultural connects between our respective communities.