Developer commits to preserving Michael’s Bay cemeteries

MICHAEL’S BAY—JM Pellerin, the representative of a group that is in the process of purchasing the historic Michael’s Bay townsite and associated properties in Tehkummah, said it is too early in the process to provide a meaningful update on the development, but assures readers that the townsite gravesites are safe.

“We are still going back and forth, doing clarification stuff. I am hoping to hear back from my lawyer soon, he is reviewing a document, but it really is in the hands of the government and the RCMP right now,” he said. “It is too early to issue a statement.”

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But Mr. Pellerin did want to make a clear point on his group’s plans for the townsite. “We are not prepared to start moving bodies,” he stated definitively. “Gravesites will be respected. That is a guarantee.”

He noted that while it is not uncommon for developers to “turn their noses up at the concerns of the community and to say ‘it is my property and I will do what I want with it and if you don’t like it I will go to court to get my way.’ That is not us, we are not about to do that,” he said.

He noted that some of the presentations made to him have suggested a park in the development. “Something with a statue and maybe some benches,” he said. “We are totally open to discussing something like that. We would be looking for input from the community.”

As to those who seem to be against the development on any grounds, Mr. Pellerin said that their position is difficult to credit. “You look around the world, you look closer to home, say Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie or southern Ontario, you can go on and on around the world, things change and things get built,” he said. “We want to see something happen here that both we and the community can step back, look at and be proud of.”

Mr. Pellerin reiterated his commitment that no cemeteries would be moved or built over. “We have no intention of disrespecting anyone’s burial site,” he said. “I wouldn’t want anyone doing that to my ancestors and I have no intention of doing that to anyone else’s.”

mike@manitoulin.ca