Six Nations Elected Council renewed the Grand River Notification Agreement for another five years, just as it begins to explore the impacts of the controversial More Homes Built Faster Act, also known as Bill C-23.
The GRNA is an agreement formed in 1996 that is supposed to compel stakeholders along the Grand River to notify Six Nations of any development taking place along the tract.
Elected Council voted to renew the GRNA for another five years at Monday’s Political Liaison meeting.
Councillor Helen Miller told the council she learned a large parcel of land was recently purchased by the province near Paris.
Six Nations is in the midst of suing the provincial government for unlawfully appropriating Six Nations’ lands along the Haldimand Tract in what could turn out to be the largest land claim settlement in Canadian history.
Miller wondered how the provincial government can sell land that is subject to litigation.
Six Nations Lands and Resources Director Lonny Bomberry said he did not believe the land was purchased by the government, but rather by private developers and said that private sales are still allowed to occur while the litigation moves forward.
He also notified council that developers are currently buying significant tracts of land in Brantford.
“Technically, we can’t do anything to stop them from doing that. We don’t have the authority to stop third-party people from transferring land back and forth. However, we’re not letting Ontario off the hook. We are approaching them and saying whatever provincial approvals that are there, in regards to any kind of development, we’re going to be objecting to approving those until you sit down and talk with us about consultation and accommodation. We can’t really stop anything that occurs between third parties.”
The only legal obligations the province and developers have is to notify Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council under the GRNA.
“If there is going to be any development have to notify us. The Grand River Notification Agreement is supposed to let us know stuff like that.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Nathan Wright sounded the alarm on Bill C-23, introduced by Premier Doug Ford which became Ontario law in 2022 to build more housing across the province. The new law grants overriding authorities Ontario ministers, strips authority from conservation agencies, reduces environmental protections and cuts into once-protected green spaces.
“It takes away their authority to stop things that are sensitive to the environment,” Bomberry noted. “They have less authority to protect the environment.”