Builder Mike Quattrociocchi's attempt to start work on the second phase of his controversial Grand River Avenue housing project is meeting resistance from neighbours and Six Nations activists.
Floyd and Ruby Montour paid Quattrociocchi a visit Monday morning at the site, near Jarvis Street, where his company, Mayberry Homes, is about to build 20 housing units.
The two native activists warned the builder they are opposed to his second phase, just as they protested the first one built a year ago next door. And said they want him to consult with the native organization Haudenosaunee Development Institute.
Workers were excavating the site last week in preparation to start construction, but no work was going on Monday when the Montours visited. Quattrociocchi agreed to meet members of the organization on Friday, but he said in an interview that he reserves his right to resume excavation.
"Nothing's changed from the original dispute," said the former city councillor. "They say it's native land and want me to consult. I'm tired of consulting. It means we talk and they say, 'it's native land and we want money.'"
Floyd Montour said he and other activists have a duty to oppose the project.
"We have to step up to the plate, because it's native land," he said. "He got away with one before. He knows it, and everyone knows it. Deep down, he's chuckling about it."
Montour was referring to the smaller first phase, which native activists halted temporarily, until other Six Nations Confederacy officials relented and let Quattrociocchi finish.
"We won't let it happen a second time. He'll be laughing all the way to the bank if we do."
Meanwhile, neighbours have been keeping a vigil since last week on the excavation. They have been tracking a truck with videocameras as it hauls dirt and cement blocks over to Alfred Street, then dumps the contents on private property overlooking Shallow Creek Park.
Those living around the park find the growing pile an eyesore, while those on Grand River Avenue wonder how fill from a property that Quattrociocchi calls a "brownfield site" can be so easily moved and dumped in a neighbourhood.
"We'd like the city to examine more thoroughly this material before letting it be moved like that," said Mary Ellen Kaye, who heads a group called Keep Our River Public, which opposes Quattrociocchi's projects along the Grand.
"But you know, even if it's clean fill, it looks ugly beside the park."
Quattrociocchi has an agreement with the owner of the property on Alfred. The owner wanted the fill brought in to buttress the bank. The deal allows Quattrociocchi to dispose of the unwanted fill cheaply and avoid paying $10 a ton at the landfill site.
Doug Clark, director of the building department, said Monday there are no regulations limiting the movement of clean fill to a private residential property.
Alfred Street neighbours and users of Shallow Creek Park have voiced their complaints.
Terry Chandler, who lives on Hilda Street but regularly takes his children to play in the park, said he is upset to see a big encroaching pile. "It certainly doesn't make the park look good," he said.