Brantford failed to uphold GRNA, says lawyer in Arrowdale dispute

A lawyer representing a citizens’ interest group opposed to the sale of the Arrowdale Golf Course in Brantford said the city failed to uphold the Grand River Notification Agreement by sending the notice too late.

Eric Gillespie, a lawyer for the group, “Know Your City” told a judicial review last Friday aired live on YouTube “” that the City of Brantford didn’t notify Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) until after the sale was complete.

In our respectful submission, there wasn’t compliance with the GRNA, Gillespie told the hearing.

The GRNA is a voluntary agreement between Six Nations, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the City of Brantford, Brant County, Haldimand County and the Grand River Conservation Authority.

The agreement asks that each party notify each other on matters of common interest on the lands in each county.

Interest groups in Brantford are contesting the sale of the 9-hole golf course, arguing that local Indigenous groups, such as Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit, were not properly consulted on the sale.

Furthermore, the hearing showed an email exchange involving Six Nations Lands and Resources Director Lonny Bomberry saying that Six Nations should not bother contesting the sale because they would lose.

“Even if we could start an action against Brantford over Arrowdale, we would eventually lose in a very costly action,” Bomberry wrote to a Six Nations woman who sent a letter to the Brantford Mayor asking the city to reconsider the sale.

Bomberry said the land is part of the “surrender of the Town Plot in 1830” in which Six Nations allegedly surrendered 807 acres of land but was never properly compensated for it. The land is part of a Six Nations lawsuit against the Crown that’s been before the courts since 1995 that seeks an accounting of funds for the sale or “surrender” of lands within the almost one-million acre Haldimand Tract. The tract includes the City of Brantford and comprises six miles of land on either side of the Grand River from its mouth to its source.

The Arrowdale land was listed for sale on June 9.

Brantford City Council authorized a sale to a purchaser on Aug. 25.

However, the notice to Six Nations and MCFN was not sent until Aug. 27 and didn’t become effective until five business days later on Sept. 3, Gillespie submitted.

“Obviously, that raises real concerns.”

Futhermore, he said the notice to the two First Nations on Aug. 25 said the property was listed for sale, not mentioning the fact that it was already sold.

He also said the GRNA requires an attachment of the listing when sending the notification but that never happened.

Gillespie told the panel, which included lawyers from the City of Brantford, “You are dealing nation to nation. That relationship impacts on us all.”

Justice Harriet Sachs, who oversaw the review, reserved her decision until after the holidays.

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  1. the place where they want to do the golf course, is it a forest? Is there wildlife there?

  2. Judging by the picture, it looks like a forest, but i’m not sure, is it? If it is a forest, and there is animal life, i strongly believe they should NOT do it there.

    1. Anna – that is a great question! One would think the City would have to go through a re-zoning process to sever the property. Even if the City carries on with its 17 acre park plans, the Six Nations should be consulted. Part of the Arrowdale lands is under claim and that would trigger the s. 35 Duty to Consult, which is the responsibility of the Crown. Also, the 17 acre proposed park would not exist but for the City’s resolution to dispose 32 acres of Arrowdale for PRIVATE development. Know Your City Inc. is in the process of seeking leave to appeal so this matter is still before the courts. IMO the City should leave the Arrowdale lands alone until this matter is resolved. Ultimately, the City should honour the HCCC’s moratorium on land development.

      Francois – the land has been used as a golf course but there is wildlife there!! It is one of largest inner-city green spaces in Brantford. The lands gives so much – tree canopy, habitat, ground water filter etc.

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