BRANTFORD — After his decisive victory over long sitting mayor, Chris Friel, Brantford has a new mayor. But as far as Six Nations is concerned, will it be just, “here comes the new boss — same as the old boss.” That is a question that only time will tell.
However, newly sworn in Mayor Kevin Davis, a former lawyer with one of Brantford’s biggest and oldest law firms, has at the very least included Six Nations and New Credit in his inaugural address with promises of a better relationship with its neighbours, which includes its Onkwehon:we and Anishinabic ones.
Davis thanked Friel and other outgoing Councillors for their service to the community
“I’m sure I speak for every member of council when I say we are humbled and proud to be given the opportunity to serve our city and its residents,” he said. “It’s not an easy job but we do it because we love this city and we want it to be the best that it can be.”
He then looked ahead to continued and increased development on lands still under claim and have been for about as long.
“These lands are the future of our city, where new houses will be built and jobs created,” he said. “New factories and businesses will employ thousands of people. The dilemma we face is that we have to invest a lot of money up front to develop roads, sewers and other city services.
However, the tax revenue from the new homes and businesses won’t start to flow for several years. In the meantime, we risk running out of land in the existing city for new housing and industrial development,” he clearly spoke. “So the sooner the boundary lands are developed, the better.”
Davis’ first construction push will be the development of 2,700 hectares of boundary lands the city annexed last year from Brant County after a long and bitter negotiation between former Brant mayor Ron Eddy and Friel.
The new mayor wants to create a task force to oversee work on the lands.
He touched on several areas of priority including, “forging a closer relationship with Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation to work on projects and programs that will mutually benefit all of the communities.”
He also has designs on the development of Cainsville, the former Cayuga Village, and the Johnson Tract, all under current Six Nations land claim.
The expansion of the downtown with what he calls, “underused land” south of Icomm Drive, which is also under Claim as part of the Nathan Gage Tract dispute.
Specific to Six Nations, Davis said in his address, “The people of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation are our friends and neighbours.
He acknowledged the First Nations people as the reason this city exists at all.
“I’m sure all of us at the council table look forward to forging a closer relationship with both First Nations so we can work together on projects and programs that mutually benefit our communities.”
See ONE on ONE with Mayor Davis next week.