OHSWEKEN — A group of Six Nations residents appealed to Elected Council via a Zoom call during Tuesday’s General Council meeting, frustrated with the amount of industry popping up near their homes.
The members all live at one end of Third Line on Six Nations between Cayuga Road and Highway 6 where a collection of tobacco, construction and other industry businesses have built facilities that emit noise, odor and light pollution disrupting local residents.
Arnold Jacobs, a hereditary chief of the Haudenosaunee, is one of those residents. Jacobs told the Elected Council he has environmental, health and safety concerns about the lack of zoning on Six Nations territory and wants them to intervene.
Another resident, Morgan Jacobs, shared his frustrations with the Elected Council. He said a cement plant, a construction company and a tobacco curing facility on the corner surround the homes of the area homes and that another new industrial development looks like it is about to begin nearby.
“If people feel that they have an area to develop, we really don’t want that kind of growth of industry in our area.”
While Jacobs said he and the other residents are not opposed to industry — they do not feel it is fair for community homes and families to be disrupted with potential contaminants and environmental degradation of industry next door to the place their family has lived for generations.
Ruby Jacobs shared her concerns about the increase in traffic industry has brought to the area.
“There’s big transport trucks hauling up and down all night long. This is a concern for us too —always up and down all night long. All day, all night,” said Jacobs. “Everyone is concerned about the children who are riding their bikes and trying to play.”
“This was once very peaceful and a really nice place to live. But now you can’t even sit out on your verandah because of smell and noise,” said Jacobs.
The residents all pleaded with the Elected Council to take specific action — to declare an area of the reserve for industrial development and restrict industry growth in residential areas of the community.
One resident became emotional, stating that their children are in a lose-lose situation because they are unable to live on the family estate due to industry encroachment and unable to afford the steep price of land, which has become out of reach for the average family.
Six Nations Elected Council member Hazel Johnson said the community needs to re-assess industry zoning that was done for the Oneida Business Park area and establish a one-day court in the community for by-law violations to be heard.