Toronto Star – After more than 50 years of failed negotiations, the federal government committed $90M for a care home that will treat those poisoned by mercury. The deal includes:
- $68.9M in a trust for operational and servicing costs over 30 years and an agreement to periodically review the funding levels.
- $19.5M previously announced for construction costs for the facility.
- The new care home, once completed, is expected to offer palliative care, physiotherapy, counselling, traditional healing and have both in- and outpatient services. It will be able to treat 22 in-patients.
Over the past three years, the Star and scientists have revealed that fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province; that there are mercury-contaminated soil and river sediments at or near the site of the old mill; and that the provincial government knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under that site and never told anyone in Grassy Narrows or nearby Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) Independent Nations. Scientists strongly suspect that old mercury still contaminates the mill site and pollutes the river.
Grassy Narrows First Nations has been fighting all levels of government for over 50 years since the paper Mill in Dryden dumped over 10 tons of toxic mercury into the Wabigoon River upstream of Grassy Narrows in northern Ontario.