Judge issues ultimatum to land defenders: leave McKenzie Meadows occupation or no voice in court

CAYUGA — An Ontario Superior Court Judge says people opposing a housing development in Caledonia have just a few more days to leave their occupation site, or they will lose an opportunity to have their concerns heard before the courts.

Justice RJ Harper told Skyler Williams that if demonstrators who have been occupying the McKensie Meadows housing development site in Caledonia don’t leave the property before October 22, he will not be allowed to present his case before the courts before the judge decides whether or not to issue a permanent injunction on the land.

Williams has been acting as a spokesperson for the people opposing the housing development for the last 88 days.

The project has the support of the Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, and went through a public consultation process in the community to illicit support for the project and hear if any opposition.

Six Nations of the Grand River accepted an accommodation deal with Foxgate to see two new housing projects in Caledonia. In exchange, the developer gave 42.85 acres of farm land and $352,000 to SNGREC as part of the accommodation deal to approve two housing projects: Beatties Estates and McKenzie Meadows on the east and west sides of McKenzie Road in Caledonia.

Lawyers for the housing developer say that while the parcel of land is under land claim, the compensation being sought by the community is financial settlements and not return of the lands. While in court on Friday, lawyers condemned Williams for openly defying the injunctions on the development site and disrespecting the courts.

Just a few weeks ago the Six Nations Elected Council heard an update from Williams about the occupation. Council members thanked Williams for the update but some members actively condemned the protest — saying they do not support or agree with protests.

In an update to social media on the occupation of the development site, Williams shared a photo of OPP cruisers increasing their presence in the area around the protesters. “More pressure being applied to the OPP. They’ve decided to set up a shop directly across the street from Landback Lane as well as at the entrance to our community on 6th Line and Argyle St.

Why do the OPP insist on spiking up an already tense situation,” wrote Williams.

As part of the courts submissions Friday, OPP West Region Regional Commander John Cain filed an affidavit and reported that police saw no benefit to raiding the camp and said taking such action could result in railways, bridges and hydro stations being “attacked and damaged in retaliation for the use of force by police.”

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