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Developer objects to construction ban

Melita Kuburas
Brantford Expositor
Local News - Saturday, May 20, 2006 @ 01:00

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

Henco Industries is demanding that the province purchase Douglas Creek Estates at a “fair market value” after a freeze on development was imposed this week.

“We’ve always said it’s their intention to develop the property, but if someone says you can’t develop there, what else can you do?” Henco’s lawyer Michael Bruder said Friday on behalf of Caledonia builders Don and John Henning.

Six Nations protesters have been occupying the unfinished subidivision since Feb. 28, claiming it was wrongly taken from them in the 1840s.

Construction on the site will be halted indefinitely while Six Nations representatives and the federal and provincial governments work out a solution to the land dispute.

The Aboriginal Affairs office has also agreed to pay for a further archeological assessment of the property, following claims that it is a native burial ground.

The decision was communicated to Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy Council in a May 17 letter from David Ramsay, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

But Bruder says his client wasn’t notified of either decision and found out about the agreement through postings on an aboriginal Web site called Six Nations Solidarity.

“We didn’t know about it,” he said.

Bruder said Henco does not consent to either a moratorium or further archeological assessment.

Friday morning, Bruder sent a letter on behalf of the developer, demanding that the government purchase Douglas Creek Estates for “the value of the land itself plus the revenues we would have received had our development proceeded as planned."

Anne-Marie Flanagan, spokesperson for Ramsay’s office, said the length of the freeze and the details of the archeological inspection have yet to be decided.

“It is something that’s being discussed at the negotiating table,” she said, adding that the aboriginal affairs office has been in touch with all parties in the dispute, including the developer.

Part of Ramsay’s decision is a request for the removal of roadblocks set up between Argyle Street and Highway 6 in Caledonia.

No barricades were removed as of Friday afternoon. Protesters on the site said they fear opening the roads would put people on the reserve at increased risk.

“We’ve had meetings to discuss taking the opening of the road for the last two weeks, but every time someone on the other side does something dumb (it) sets us back,” said Six Nations spokeswoman Hazel Hill.

The most recent incident occurred Thursday, when an 18-year-old Ingersoll man was apprehended by natives for creating a disturbance behind the barricades. He was handed over to police, who arrested him for dangerous driving. However, OPP Const. Doug Graham said the man was not charged.

Hill said the construction ban puts the native people at ease.

“It’s something we asked for,” she said, adding that Six Nations members will meet today to decide whether to take down barricades for the rest of the long weekend.

With more traffic expected, police want to make sure drivers can get around the barricades safely, Const. Graham said.

One Caledonia resident, who did not want to be named, said it’s time for the barricades to come down.

“If it’s their land it’s theirs, but the roads need to be reopened,” she said while piling her groceries into her car.

Another resident, a business owner who also did not want to be named for fear of losing customers, said the lack of further development in the area will mean a financial loss for the community.

“A lot of people moved here banking on the expansion,” he said. “Now that’s 1,000 people that will not go to the (local grocery and liquor) stores.”

It’s not just loss of business that will result if there is a permanent stop to the development, said Cody Walmsley, 26. Property values will go down, and racial tensions in the community will increase, he said.

“It’s gonna hurt the town. It’s a sad day.”

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