Monthly Archives: March 2009

County wants development back on track

By Karen Best, Chronicle Staff Writer

Home construction is on troubling downward slide according to Haldimand County council members.

In January 2006, 18 permits were issued. Within a year, only 10 were issued. Then five in 2008 and only 4 last month.
In an attempt to stop the slide, the county’s planning and economic development department has streamlined planning application processes, and reduced requirements. Council will consider a policy to defer some fees.

C oun. Lorne Boyko questioned keeping the home permit projection at 18 per month as it has not been reached since 2006. Next year, the actual monthly total may be one or zero, he added.
“If they’re putting a ‘no development’ lock on the door, they have to come out with that,” Boyko said of the provincial government.

The monthly projection is based on a population study prepared for the development charges bylaw. This spring a draft charge bylaw will have updated numbers and will be presented to developers for informal input.  Coun. Buck Sloat wanted a realistic permit projection but Coun. Craig Grice wanted to retain the higher total so the provincial and federal governments can see how the county was supposed to develop.
The province has provided no new funding to cover costs or lost revenues due to Douglas Creek Estate issues, noted Karen General, corporate services general manager.
When council members debate the development charges bylaw in June, they will have to look at infrastructure costs related to growth and fair and reasonable charges to developers, said General.

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Six Nations Men and Caledonia resident Ken Hewitt share perspectives

From the Dunnville Chronicle

There was standing room only when four members of the Six Nations Mens Fire began to speak about their role as protectors of land. When they finished, Caledonia resident Ken Hewitt explained his petition asking for an inquiry into the actions of the OPP and OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino.
Three years ago such a session was beyond anyone’s imagination. On the eve of Feb. 28, people from the two communities shared information in the Wilfred Laurier University Theatre in Brantford.

Later Mayor Marie Trainer heralded this as a start of something. Resolution will come from the grass-roots, not Toronto or Ottawa, she said.
In her introductory remarks, organizer Marilyn Vegso said the evening was an opportunity to hear from Six Nations and Caledonia citizens and to move people toward understanding and friendship. Resolution can only be reached by the communities of Six Nations, Brantford and Caledonia, she added.

The Feb. 27 session was organized by TRUE established by Vegso and her spouse, Jim Windle. The name is an acronym for Two Row Wampum understanding through education.
Members of the Mens Fire sitting on the panel were Wes Elliott, Gene Johns, Kelly Curley and Stan Farmer.

With the purple and white beaded Two Row wampum draped over his hands, Farmer explained that it represented two people living side by side but not interfering in the others laws and customs. The treaty was first struck with the Dutch in the early 1600s and then adopted later by the French and British.

“This document I hold here in my hand is a living document,” Farmer said. “This was supposed to last forever.”
Elliott pointed out that under Section 35 of the Canadian constitution, treaty law supersedes Canadian law. Last February, provincial and federal negotiators told Six Nations negotiators that they were at the table under the Two Row and the Silver Covenant Chain, another treaty of friendship, he added.

Farmer and Curley offered a brief overview of Six Nations history. Before the peacemaker arrived, nations were at war. When the Great Law was created, it became a way of life and is not a religion, explained Farmer.

The Men’s Fire is thousands of years old and was rekindled three years ago after OPP raided Douglas Creek Estates in 2006.
“We are to promote peace at all costs. Once peace is broken it is our job to protect it,” Farmer said of the men’s role. “We were born to protect the earth, to protect our families, our nations, our clans. We can’t surrender nor will I ever.”

At this point, Hewitt took his place on stage. He pointed out that Caledonia residents know very little history and very little about their native neighbours. This has led to racism in some, he added.
Hewitt laid responsibility on governments who did nothing while watching protests, violent clashes, road closures, halted construction and personal attacks. Communities must stop battling it out with each other and put their joint efforts into pressuring government to act, he p>Believing the Ipperwash inquiry policies have failed, Hewitt hoped his inquiry will bring out the truth in Caledonia and the surrounding area and will lead to better policies.

In launching the petition for an OPP inquiry, he gave people in both communities the opportunity to push for the truth. With Brantford and Six Nations endorsement of the petition, their case for an inquiry will be stronger, he added.

Expressing concerns about local economies and social costs, he called on leaders and adults to act responsibly, put “local nonsense” aside and find solid ways to move community interests forward.
“My passion and my hope is that one day we will be the beacon for all others sharing the same struggles,” said Hewitt. “Haldimand, Brantford and Six Nations will be known for its successes in working together rather than its failures.”

Brantford resident Garry Horsnell asked why Six Nations men protect land they will not get back because the federal government will not expropriate land from third parties. Curley responded saying Six Nations had a right to that land even if is a house on it but only if no people are living in it.

Ruby Montour of Six Nations challenged Hewitt on two tier policing. He said that’s not how he describes policing but he has seen mistakes made by police toward both sides. The confusion comes from police ranks above, he added.

Developer Steve Charest presented a few documents to members of the Men’s Fire. One outlined a 1997 agreement between Six Nations and Brantford for economic benefits to both communities. Six Nations protests began in the 1990s, he added.

Then Cheyenne Williams was honoured for bringing awareness to DCE in 2005. She was a 17-year-old mother of a two year old and realized places for children to live in Six Nations were not plentiful.

In Oct. 2005, she and Janie Jamieson began an information mission about the Haldimand Tract. On Feb 27, 2006, they stayed in DCE and then decided to remain there.
“As a woman, I’m a keeper of the land and I bring new life,” she said. “Our women are very strong and they stand beside our men.”

After the session, H-N MPP Toby Barrett said comments about land protection and the Great Law were made by Williams and others when he visited DCE in March 2006. He carried that message from the site to the Governor General of Canada.

Brantford resident Brian VanTilborg has attended TRUE meetings since they began last year. “I realized a solution would not be found without a dialogue with Six Nations,’ he said.
In his opinion, tension and racism has not reached the level arising form DCE. VanTilborg, who was a Brant NDP candidate in the federal election, noted that TRUE is now bringing Caledonia and Brantford issues together creating an opportunity to work together to get government to do its job.

Copyright © 2009 Dunnville Chronicle

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Filed under Brantford, Caledonia, Men's Fire, TRUE

County, provincial officials meet behind closed doors

Dunnville Chronicle: Haldimand County council members were unable to comment on discussions with representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.

For about 30 minutes on March 2, council met behind closed doors with senior negotiator John Nolan and assistant deputy minister Doug Carr who oversees the negotiations and reconciliation division of the ministry.

Neither could provide any information on meeting discussions.

In general terms, Coun. Craig Grice commented on gist of the meeting.

“It relates to lines of communication finally opening up,” he said.
In his opinion, some ideas made sense but others did not and some were non-starters.

“I would hope the powers that be at Six Nations would recognize that it’s about what could be if we want to truly move forward,” stated Grice.
He said a positive point of view was discussed and described it as stepping out of the problem to find an answer.

“It’s got to start somewhere,” Grice pointed out.

The closed meeting occurred nine hours after three Six Nations women asked developer John Voortman to stop construction of 46 townhouses in Hagersville. He agreed to contact provincial officials to ask them to negotatiate this land dispute with Six Nations.

More than a week ago a Six Nations, Brantford and Ontario draft memorandum was leaked out to the public after a closed Brantford council session.
Grice indicated that Haldimand’s discussions were not in the same vein.

The Brantford Expositor identified the memorandum as a provincial document and an interim agreement. Within it were clauses about potential financial benefits to Six Nations, acknowledgement of multiple claims and rights assertions of Six Nations in Brantford and other parts of the province and encouragement for expeditious federal resolution of outstanding claims.

Other memorandum clauses set out discussions as confidential, a three-month abeyance of Brantford’s injunction against the Haudenosaunee Development Institute and individuals and abeyance of Six Nations elected council’s lawsuit against the city and province.

In turn, the province agreed to give the Haudenosaunee $100,000 to pay for talk costs and Haudenosaunee leaders were to use their best efforts to halt all development delays to give talks a chance to succeed.

Further talks about memorandum were scuttled after Confederacy chiefs heard about the leak.
Mohawk Chief Allen MacNaughton said the chiefs will look at another avenue to address related issues.
-with files from the Brantford Expositor

Copyright © 2009 Dunnville Chronicle

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Filed under Haldimand Tract, Negotiations