City and County sign agreement – opposition continues

BRANT/BRANTFORD – Although any actual transfer won’t begin to happen until January 1, 2017, both Brant and Brantford Councils have formally agreed to the annexation of 2,585 hectares of land from the County to the City and have begun work on the formalities of the transfer.

The transfer, or annexation, includes lands within the Johnson Settlement and Martin Tract to the city’s Eastern and Northern border as well as the Tutela Heights area to the southwest.

Brantford is to provide millions of dollars in compensation for the land as well as future considerations. Last Tuesday night both County and City Councils approved of the deal after several years of hard negotiations.

Wrangling over the transfer go back 13-years but were heated up again in recent months as Walton International land bankers became involved by buying up most of the land in question using off shore Asian investment money, especially in the Tutela Heights and Martin Tract portion of the package. Brantford is seen by Walton as being more apt to clear the way for their resale of these lands to Canadian builders and home owners at hugely inflated rates.

How is this going to impact Six Nations land claims? Although Elected Chief Ava Hill says that this transfer will, in no way, interfere with underlying land claims, it is hard to imagine how it wouldn’t, given that the ultimate purpose of the transfer is to pave over the farmland to make it useless to Six Nations when it gets into third party, private hands.

The 7,000 acre Johnson settlement tract is a portion of the transfer, or annexation, is under registered claim.

“By Order-in-Council of October 4, 1843, the Crown acknowledged that the lands, which comprised the Johnson’s Settlement tract, some 7,000 acres and other lands were reserved out of the lands purportedly to be surrendered for disposition to the Crown under the January 18, 1841 document. Six Nations had indicated their consent that these lands would be let on short leases. Nevertheless, the Crown subsequently sold these lands and all of the proceeds from the sales were not paid to Six Nations. Six Nations have never consented to an absolute surrender of these lands.

In or about 1843, the Crown reserved specific lands for Six Nations and as of 1995 the Six Nations Reserve consists of approximately 45,482.951 acres, being only a small portion of the lands said to be reserved for Six Nations.

There is no lawful surrender from Six Nations to the Crown for the sale of any portion of the lands reserved for Six Nations.

Six Nations were deprived of continual rental revenues by the Crown’s sale of the lands in the Johnson Settlement. Six Nations did not receive full and fair compensation for the lands sold.

The Crown has not shown that all the purported sums paid were credited to the Six Nations Trust Fund Accounts.”

The city, province and federals stand upon a very sketchy purported surrender of 1841 orchestrated by Indian Agent Samual Jarvis. A profile of Jarvis and his record of fraud and his removal from office was published in last week’s Two Row Times. This purported “surrender” is also under unresolved registered land claim.

In a truly ironic move, Canada arbitrarily closed Six Nations files in 1995 without resolution until Six Nations removed its legal action against Canada intended to get to the negotiation table to settle.

According to Six Nations researchers;

A sketch or plan was not submitted to Six Nations showing precisely what lands were at issue and in fact, none of the procedures that were required for the legal alienation of Indian lands were followed nor were they attempted to be followed.

There is no lawful surrender from Six Nations to the Crown for the sale of any portion of the lands reserved for Six Nations, nor for any portion of the lands not so reserved.

There is no Order-in-Council approving of or accepting the purported surrender and no required plan or sketch was produced then or has been produced since, which specifically identifies what, if any, lands are effected.

Promises and conditions made in the January, 1841, meetings have never been fulfilled and the Crown breached their fiduciary trust to the Six Nations.

The County has undergone the opposition of several of its own citizens who will become annexed into Brantford, against their wishes, and has chosen to go ahead with the deal.

But it was not a unanimous vote at County council. Voting against the proposed annexation deal were Brant Councillors Shirley Simons and Joan Gatward. Councillors Don Cardy and Murray Powell were absence for the vote. In Brantford, only Councillor David Neumann voted against.

The deal still has to be approved by the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin and until this approval is drafted, there is still a window of opportunity to stop it and Gale Bury, spokesperson for the Tutela Heights Phelps Road Residents Association, aka THPRRA, promises to continue the fight.

“THPRRA is disappointed but not at all surprised that neither Council chose to rethink the inclusion of Tutela Heights in the boundary adjustment decisions of last week,” according to a media release sent out by the residents group. “Neither Council has a clear understanding of the costs of including Tutela in the land grab and both Councils are very well aware of the wide variety of reasons why Tutela is a very poor choice for the Brantford City expansion.

THPRRA promises to continue with efforts at the provincial level to lobby for wiser decisions in this annexation process.

“This is important for the taxpayers of both Brantford and Brant County and for future generations who will live in this area,” according to a THPRRA media release.

Brant Tutela Heights area ward Councillor Gatward sides with those she serves in that area who oppose the transfer and told media after the meeting that she hopes those residents push hard at Queens Park in resistance to the transfer.

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