To the Expositor:
I am detecting a strong odour from the Michael’s Bay area from several sources that should be sweet smelling. Too many things that don’t add up are happening.
Unimpeded public access is to be provided to cemeteries according to Ontario laws. Apparently no government body enforces these laws and the elected people who should ensure all laws are followed are complacently doing nothing. The Michael’s Bay Cemeteries once before had to be saved at the last minute from excavation and we still are not sure that road construction in this area was not built from the bones of some of our ancestors as often our ancestors buried bodies outside the normal limits of the cemeteries.
Previous township councils have passed motions to have the cemeteries in Michael’s Bay properly registered. This has never happened for whatever reason and the cemeteries have become overgrown with trees and underbrush to a point where they cannot be distinguished from the surrounding bush and only our oldest citizens can tell us their locations now. These cemeteries were established long before the present regulations requiring registration.
I have worked with Doug Tracy and a very small group of volunteers to rehabilitate one of these cemeteries. He has the permission of the present owner and the federal department of Public Works to clean up these burial grounds and he has done an amazing job with no help from either the Township of Tehkummah or the Michael’s Bay Historical Society, both of whom should be helping in this endeavour.
I was surprised in Michael Erskine’s column of The Manitoulin Expositor to read that Reeve Gary Brown allowed a comment to pass that a proposed buyer of the Michael’s Bay property would be allowed to prevent access to the cemeteries before owning the property, even though this is contrary to Ontario law. What respectable person would ever suggest such a thing? I am highly suspect of the Michael’s Bay Historical Society whose mandate is supposed to be the preservation of this area. I left this organization because of the present executive’s failure to provide an audit of their finances as mandated in the club’s regulations. The firm which provided the members with a report did not audit the club’s books and would not go on record as providing a proper audit. The suggestion of a proposed buyer of this site preventing access to the cemeteries leads me to believe something inappropriate could happen because honest, trustworthy people do not act this way and usually have nothing to hide from public view. All the streets in the old town site of Michael’s Bay still belong to the township of Tehkummah and are in the public domain.
Doug Tracy and I are only interested in the rehabilitation of the cemeteries and the preservation of the historical town site itself. This raises my suspicions and distrust of several of the participants in this game.
There is one registered cemetery in Michael’s Bay and four unregistered charities. None of them have been looked after and I get the distinct impression from the local municipal government that they have no intention of ever doing the right thing. Prospective buyers of this property should be made aware of their legal obligations before the purchase and that they are obligated to fix up the cemeteries and provide access for the public to visit the graves of their ancestors.William Wilson Gore Bay