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November 22, 2004
Final report of Lake Winnipeg ESPI launches protocol discussions
WINNIPEG, MAN-The final report of the Lake Winnipeg East Side Planning Initiative (ESPI) makes 102 recommendations on environmental and other issues important to residents on the east side. The report, presented to Conservation Minister Stan Struthers last week, reflects received during 80 meetings and hundreds of hours of discussions with people representing First Nations, MÈtis and non-Aboriginal communities within the east side of Lake Winnipeg. This region contains one of the largest stands of contiguous boreal forests in North America; most of its population is of First Nations descent. "This is a framework for a broad area plan for the east side of Lake Winnipeg," said National Chief Phil Fontaine, who also headed the ESPI. "It will shape the way we deal with environment and community economic development in this special area, ensuring that First Nations can establish sustainable economies." Struthers said the immediate follow-up to the report will include the continuation of the East Side First Nations Council and the launch of protocol discussions based on the memorandum of understanding signed by 13 of 16 First Nations communities. All communities will remain participants in the process.