Kanesatake grand chief says deal reached to partly reopen Oka provincial park

Mohawks from Kanesatake block the entrance to Oka provincial park, Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Oka, Que. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The grand chief of the Mohawks of Kanesatake says he has reached a deal with Quebec to partially reopen a provincial park near the community.

Serge Simon says in a statement that a blockade erected last week to keep people away from Oka provincial park will be lifted.

READ MORE: ‘Give us some time’ to prepare for reopening from COVID-19 lockdown, Kanesatake grand chief says

The chief says that, following a meeting with Quebec officials on Monday, the intention is to lift the blockade on Wednesday once the Mohawks receive a copy of the contingency plan.

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According to Simon’s statement, the agreement will see only one access road to the park open, restricting access to those living in the Lower Laurentians and keeping the number of people at any time to half of maximum capacity.

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READ MORE: Kanesatake Mohawks blocking access to Oka provincial park as grand chief cites COVID-19 fears

Members of the First Nation blocked access to Oka last Wednesday as other provincial parks partially opened.

Simon had said he had concerns about visitors to the popular park spreading COVID-19 to his community.

Both the federal and provincial governments last week urged dialogue to resolve the issue.

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