Band occupies Manitoba hydro station

Members of a northern Manitoba First Nation have occupied a hydroelectric generating station and say they will not leave until provincial officials agree to meet with them.

The Pimicikamak Cree Nation from Cross Lake has had band members camped out at the nearby Jenpeg generating station since last Thursday.

Band members are protesting against a long delay in implementing the Northern Flood Agreement, an agreement among the federal and provincial governments, Manitoba Hydro and five First Nations affected by flooding caused by hydroelectric projects on the Nelson and Churchill rivers.

Four of the five First Nations have settled their compensation under the agreement, but the process is still ongoing with the Pimicikamak Cree Nation.

Band official Mervin Garrick told CBC the band will stay on the site as long it takes to get a meeting with the government parties involved.

"We've been very, very patient, but with 30 years of waiting and nothing really concrete happening, then people have to take action," he said.

"We have to try and make the government responsible and get them to recognize and implement the agreements that were signed with the First Nations."

Manitoba Hydro officials had agreed to a meeting in Winnipeg today, but Garrick says it's pointless to get together with only one party.

The band will block Highway 6 if progress is not made soon, Garrick said. The highway is the main link between southern Manitoba and the city of Thompson and other points north.

The premier's office was not immediately available for comment.


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