CALEDONIA – Band Council Lawyer Lonny Bomberry chaired a community meeting at the Six Nations Community Hall last week and got an earful from around 30 people who were clearly not in favour of a proposed new housing development planned for 107 acres located almost across the highway from Kanonhstaton, the land Six Nations people reclaimed in 2006.
The attempted development of Douglas Creek Estates turned into barricades and armies of OPP deployed to keep the peace at a very difficult time, and sent Caledonia and Six Nations into bitter conflict.
But that was then and this is now, and a Caledonia developer has designs on developing the former farmland to be known as MacKenzie Meadows Estates. The only difference seems to be the offer of money. The developer is offering Six Nations a total of more than $1million based on the number of homes the developer hopes to built and sell on land still under claim, and registered with the federal government as part of the Plank Road land claim.
Bomberry tried to explain that the thoughts of the Elected Band Council seems to be that they concede that development will continue with or without Six Nations blessing, so why not get an few bucks in the process rather than nothing.
The overwhelming consensus, at least from this meeting, was against the proposition, many saying that the offer was not good enough. Otherssaid not to allow development at all on land still under claim.
Bomberry explained that there is no extinguishment of title by taking the developer’s offer, and that the deal would not negate any land claim.
Former Seneca sub-chief Butch Thomas was the most vocal, accusing Band Council of selling out on land they have no jurisdiction to make any deals over.
But most of the discussion revolved around how the Elected Council was going to determine the consensus of the people on this issue before signing on with the developer.
Six Nations resident Philip Skye recommended a door-to-door survey while others called for a referendum. Still others felt the public meeting wasn’t much more than window dressing on a forgone conclusion.
The Elected Council will make its intentions known after the Dec. 3rd swearing in of the new Council, but before December 31st.