Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 09:00
Haldimand News - Developers will be invited to meet with provincial and federal representatives to discuss the threat of Six Nations occupations and demonstrations.
Haldimand County council plans to hold a July 4 workshop which will be closed to the public, as permitted under the Municipal Act.
"The situation in Hagersville highlighted the challenges we face here dealing with our neighbours," said Coun. Tony Dalimonte who proposed the meeting.
There's always a fear that another could pop up tomorrow, said Coun. Craig Grice.
On May 23, several members of Six Nations moved into a construction site on Main Street. They were protesting an 85 unit development on the property when it was part of the Plank Road claim. This claim is under discussion at the Canada, Ontario and Six Nations negotiating table.
Two years ago, development was the top industry in Haldimand County, Dalimonte noted. "We have to get that back," he said. "There 's a lot of jobs at stake."
In his report, county chief administrative officer Bill Pearce said media attention to the Caledonia land dispute has discouraged development in a town recognized as a major growth area in the county.
After the Hagersville situation, occupation is no longer specific to Caledonia, said Pearce. Other developers are concerned that their sites could be occupied as they proceed with construction, he added. To address development industry uncertainty, the county is holding the workshop. OPP officials will also attend. Even though the county is looking for federal and provincial leadership on the issue, the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations will be discussed.
Newly appointed provincial negotiator Murray Coolican recently expressed concern about actions like those in Hagersville derailing negotiations.
"The province is very concerned about ad hoc occupations that stop developers from doing what they are entitled to do," he said. "There's a historic opportunity here given the leadership the federal government has shown and it would be a shame to lose it because of these ad hoc occupations."