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Glebe lands and the BSAR

The City of Brantford is sniffing around the Glebe Farm lands again for the completion of the decades old Brantford Southern Access Route (BSAR), which Six Nations protesters and local citizens jointly succeeded in stopping in the 1990’s.

The City of Brantford is sniffing around the Glebe Farm lands again for the completion of the decades old Brantford Southern Access Route (BSAR), which Six Nations protesters and local citizens jointly succeeded in stopping in the 1990’s.

The plan was, and is, to build part of the expressway through land held in Brantford – which unquestionably belongs to Six Nations – located next to Mohawk Park to the east and Joseph Brant’s 1784 Mohawk Village to the south, and has been jealously guarded over the two-and-a-half centuries since.

About once every decade City Hall tries to refloat the idea to test Six Nations resolve. Earlier this month, Brantford let it be known that it still wants to complete the access route by running part of it through the Glebe property, when other alternatives are available.

In 1992, construction started on the BSAR without the blessing of Six Nations, assuming it could come without much resistance. The construction was shut down by Six Nations.

In 1998, it was attempted again, but further study showed that the construction through the former Massey Ferguson, Cockshutt and Sternson factory lands might disturb a massive amount of toxins in the soil. But it would also disturb Six Nations protesters who had had enough of the cities annexing of lands that have been under claim since the 1830’s and who’s status is still not resolved.

That same year, the Canadian Environmental Law Association saw the BSAR as a classic example of environmental degradation due to unnecessary road-building and general contempt for community values. The Six Nations Confederacy considered the protection of the river and the Earth, and were absolutely determined that no BSAR would touch the Glebe lands.

The most recent attempt by the city has once again disturbed Eagle Place residents who voiced concerns that the BSAR would cut their neighbourhood off from the rest of the city. There are also concerns over community safety, as this busy corridor would span through heavily residential areas where children play.

In 1994, campaigning on a “No to BSAR” platform, newly elected Mayor Chris Friel helped stop the project. Councillor Marguerite Ceschi-Smith was Ward #5 councillor at the time and was also opposed to the plan.
The original site for Pauline Johnson Secondary School was to be part of Mohawk Park – another piece of property that begs the question, how did it get into the hands of settlers (the Lovejoys) when it was clearly surveyed by Lewis Burwell as Indian Farm lands before the building of the Cannel system – yet another fraud against the Mohawks.

The Elected Indian Act Band Council made an offer to sell the entire Glebe land to Brantford for $2000 an acre in 1950 under Elected Chief E.P. Garlow. The people of Six Nations did not ratify that sale. Brantford did not move quickly enough and a sunset clause extinguished the deal.

Eventually, Elected Chief James S. Powless, severed and sold a portion of the Glebe to the city to build Pauline Johnson Secondary School on, which opened in 1955.

Other attempts to annex, with or without Band Council’s blessing, have been made over the years and each time, it has been rejected by the people of Six Nations and the traditional government.

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Jim Windle

Jim Windle

Jim Windle is a veteran news and sports reporter who has been published in a number of mediums and publications. contact Jim: windlejim@rocketmail.com

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  • Clive Garlow
    April 23, 2014, 11:00 am

    Quoting from the article: “In 1994, campaigning on a “No to BSAR” platform, newly elected Mayor Chris Friel helped stop the project.”

    As I’ve written to the paper before, Friel is showing the people of Six Nations he is no longer the voice of reason as he once was. It comes as no surprise to me he is trying to resurrect the BSAR again. It should come as no surprise to Mr. Friel that the citizens of Six Nations will not put with his BS(AR) this time either. He is clearly showing himself to be quite the flip-flop artist when it comes to accommodating Six Nations’ concerns.

    Prepare yourselves for the army to be called in as the last injunction made provisions for if he proceeds with this plan. Mr. Friel would be well advised to NOT follow the dictatorial examples made by Harper. Six Nations is more than up to the task of stopping this guy dead in his tracks! The niceties and the word games have come to an end and my words must not be construed as to suggest I’m advocating violence in any form. I am not! Diplomacy must be the word of the day on this matter. If diplomacy does fail, then we must show Brantford (Friel) our united determination to win the day…..peacefully. And, will the people of Brantford stand with us again as they did last time? It would be great if they came to this site and left their comments pro or con. A survey perhaps? Because it would be nice if we knew beforehand if we’re standing alone or with our “allies.”

    The BSAR expansion just isn’t going to happen. Friel should know that.

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