All documents related to the Village of Pinehouse

On this page, we link to documents we’ve obtained through Access to Information requests that show evidence of irregularities in the Village administration’s lack of accountability (that we describe here).  Take our guided tour below, or explore documents by category as listed in the sidebar.

So far we’ve discovered a few of the more important documents, but the Village administration has been actively thwarting our efforts to uncover basic information. We’ve listed these censorship efforts here.

Guided tour through Pinehouse documents

Pinehouse Business North

By far the hardest sector to explore when we try to understand how the Pinehouse leadership operates is the Village’s economic development corporation Pinehouse Business North (PBN).  PBN is 100% owned and controlled by the Village. As such it is described as a “reporting entity” in the Village’s audited annual financial statement.

 Short on time? If you only have time to read one document today, look at the Pinehouse Business Charter approved by Village council in 2010.  This document provides the vision, mission and mandate for the Village’s economic development corporation, Pinehouse Business North, and pledges “to administer our business ventures in an accountable, professional and transparent manner.”

The Mayor and several members of the current Village council serve, or have served on PBN’s board of directors, supposed to be representing the interests of ordinary Village residents, earning generous stipends from the corporation but providing no accountability or transparency as to how PBN is managed.

Why then, has there been only one PBN financial statement released to the public in the last seven years?

How could PBN, having earned millions of dollars in contract revenue, not have created financial statements for three years, 2009-2011?  Neither Village council nor the PBN board apparently authorized this!

Why did the Village and PBN Development Inc. create another arm’s-length corporation PBN Partnership Limited in 2012 to take over business operations?  Whose interests does this serve?

Village Audited Financial Statements

Audited financial statements are always hard to decipher, but for Pinehouse the important categories to focus on are: (1) Statement 2 – Revenue & Expenses; (2) Statement 4, Note 6 – Long-term investments re Pinehouse Business North ; and (3) Schedule 10 – Council Remuneration.

Pinehouse Mayor Mike Natomagan has always received more than generous remuneration for his responsibilities.  But we can’t help but raise our eyebrows when we look at the 2013 financial statements.  Mayor Mike received $87,100 and Councillor Greg Ross, $71,100 PLUS expenses. In Prince Albert, a city of 43,000 people, the mayor received $84,470 in 2013, and councillors about $31,000.

Greg Ross has received remuneration far beyond the average Village Councillor since 2011 for “Government Relations” responsibilities.  (We are still trying to determine what those responsibilities entail exactly.)  But we did get copies of Mr. Ross’s time and expense vouchers for two years, 2011 and 2012.  Besides his regular generous salary, he also claimed $200-$300 per day for meetings he attended.  Is this a form of double-dipping at the expense of Pinehouse taxpayers?

The Pinehouse Collaboration Agreement with Cameco and Areva

On November 13, 2012 , a seemingly innocuous document was distributed without fanfare at a Pinehouse community meeting. This “Summary of the Collaboration Agreement Term Sheet made among Cameco Corporation, Areva Resources Canada Inc., and Pinehouse” (often referred to simply as the “Term Sheet”) had been secretly negotiated over the past year, beginning with a Letter of Understanding signed on August 23, 2011. This disclosure was not so much intended as a matter for community discussion as it was to present a fait accompli. But a few attendees with a critical eye quickly recognized problems with the Term Sheet.

Among the objectionable provisions in the Term Sheet was what amounted to a gag order on Pinehouse residents regarding the social and environmental impact of expansion of the uranium mines north of the community near Key Lake. Despite a public outcry, the collaboration agreement itself was hurriedly signed on December 12, 2012, incorporating a few modifications to soften the more offensive terms in the Term Sheet, but the original text was largely left intact.

Since its endorsement, roughly $3 million dollars has been paid by industry to the community, which has been distributed by the locally controlled Pinehouse Community Trust Advisory Panel. It is hard to imagine anyone in Pinehouse not having been impacted in some way by the largesse. But for many, the questions raised back in 2012 about the impropriety and the long-term implications of the collaboration agreement seem to have been forgotten.

Pinehouse and Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)

NWMO, a consortium of nuclear development and uranium mining companies, has put pressure on several northern communities to host a nuclear waste disposal site for depleted uranium from nuclear reactors in eastern Canada. Secret discussions between NWMO and Pinehouse Village Council/Kineepik Metis Local Inc. began in 2010, and the more open “Learn More” community engagement process began in 2011. However, community resistance did force the withdrawal of NWMO from Pinehouse late in 2014. These documents, obtained from NWMO via the Village of Pinehouse as a result of a Freedom of Information request early in 2014, show how the nuclear waste agenda was advanced there from 2011 to 2013.


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Pinehouse Village 2017 financial statement

Notable in the 2017 audited financial statement are:

  • Loss of $1,096,656 for Pinehouse Business North Limited Partnership, which is 100% owned by the Northern Village of Pinehouse (page 9).  Village-owned equity stands at $9,466,869 as at 31 December 2017.
  • The high remuneration paid to Village Council (page 26):
    • Mayor Mike Natomagan, $76,900 salary + $17,733 expenses *
    • Conrad Misponas, $66,100 salary + $33,804 expenses
    • Vince Natomagan (outgoing), $3,400 salary + $6,355 expenses
    • Betty Ann Natomagan, $2,500 salary + $1,575 expenses
    • Leona Lariviere, $2,400 salary + $262 expenses
    • Walter Smith (incoming), $600 salary + $1,262 expenses

Total cost of Village Council was $212,891; municipal tax revenue was $194,904 (page 12).

* It seems that mid-way through the year, Mayor Mike stopped charging the Village $200 per diem whenever he was out of town on business.  But his salary with Pinehouse Business North was raised in December to more than compensate for this loss in income.

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Pinehouse Village 2016 financial statement parts 1 & 2

There was an election for a new Village Council in 2016.  Two of the most highly remunerated members, Mayor Mike Natomagan and Councilor Conrad Misponas, were re-elected. Vince Natomagan was elected to Council, but resigned after just a few months (beginning of 2017).  The most notable section in this year’s audited financial statement (page 27, part 2) relates to their very high annual compensation:

  • Mike Natomagan, $91,000 salary + $32,965 expenses
  • Conrad Misponas, $67,300 salary + $32,262 expenses
  • Vince Natomagan (incoming), $17,900 salary + $23,911 expenses
  • Greg Ross (outgoing), $4,400 salary + $7,085 expenses
  • Betty Ann Natomagan, $2,800 salary + $6,584 expenses
  • Leona Lariviere, $1,500 salary + $2,523 expenses
  • Caroline Ratt-Misponas (outgoing), nil

Total cost of Council was $272,330. Municipal tax revenue for the entire year was $193,906 (page 13, part 2).

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Pinehouse Village 2015 financial statement

Notable in the 2015 audited financial statement for the Northern Village of Pinehouse is the compensation paid to the Village Council (page 27):

  • Mayor Mike Natomagan, $90,670 in salary + $33,412 expenses
  • Councilor Conrad Misponas, $60,700 salary + $15,079 expenses
  • Councilor Greg Ross, $36,600 salary + $6,887 expenses
  • Councilor Betty Ann Natomagan, $2,400 salary + $2,028 expenses
  • Councilor Caroline Ratt-Misponas, $700 salary + no expenses

Total cost of Village Council: $191,070 salaries + $57,406 expenses = $248,476.

Total municipal tax levy in 2015 = $225,573 (page 8).

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Village financial statement 2014

The Northern Village of Pinehouse annual financial statement has recently been added to the Pinehouse website.  Pay close attention to the exceedingly high remuneration received by some members of Village Council (Mike Natomagan, Greg Ross and Conrad Misponas) and to the massive operational loss of over $1 million by Pinehouse Business North Limited Partnership, the Village-owned municipal development corporation.

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Village Councillor Greg Ross remuneration 2011-2012

From January 2011 to May 2012, Village councillor Greg Ross received a continuing salary for “Government Relations” responsibilities in the Village administration. In 2011 he remuneration of $74,205, more than Mayor Mike Natomagan ($69,105). In 2012, he received $31,325. He quite often claimed per diems of $200-$300 per day for meetings attended, even though he was already being compensated through his bi-weekly salary.  No explanation has been provided by the Village administration for how or why Councillor Ross was assigned these responsibilities with extra compensation.

In November 2015 a Freedom of Information request was submitted to the Village asking for copies of any and all remuneration logs, time vouchers and expense claims submitted in support of remuneration paid to Village Councilor Greg Ross in 2011 and 2012, as well as copies of the Village Council minutes approving payment of that remuneration. After nearly four months, the Village finally provided the financial documentation requested, but not the supporting minutes. It charged the applicant $270.75 for the copies provided.  A request for review was submitted to the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, who in his Review Report 098-2016 (June 2016) found that the Village’s extension of response was not in accordance with subsection 12(1)(c) of the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, that the Village refused to provide the applicant access to minutes of its council meetings, and that reasonable fees would total $30.75.  He recommends that the Village release the minutes responsive to the request and that the Village refund the applicant $240.

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