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Ministry freezes McClung housing project

Ministry freezes McClung housing project

CALEDONIA – The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport informed developers Empire Communities, that they would need to redo a “totally inadequate” archaeological survey on 350 acres of land in Caledonia’s northwest earmarked for a huge housing development of 3,500 units. Empire responded by telling the Ministry that it will not comply with their request.

CALEDONIA – The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport informed developers Empire Communities, that they would need to redo a “totally inadequate” archaeological survey on 350 acres of land in Caledonia’s northwest earmarked for a huge housing development of 3,500 units. Empire responded by telling the Ministry that it will not comply with their request.

This adds more to the growing resistance to the huge housing project proposed for 350 acres of Haldimand Tract land in Caledonia’s northwest, not far from the site of the Douglas Creek Estates standoff of 2006 on the other side of the Grand River.

Six Nations’ Elected Chief Ava Hill recounted the history of this project from her Council’s vantage point as a part of her video taped monthly report to the community available on the Elected Council’s website.

“SN Lands and Resources became aware of the proposal for development in 2013,” she says. “In November of that year, the director of Lands and Resources sent a letter to McClung Properties Ltd. requesting a meeting to discuss the development as it is within the Haldimand Treaty area, and that the developer had the duty to consult with Six Nations. But no response to that letter was ever received.”

“In August of 2014, the Director of Lands and Resources sent a letter to the Planning and Development Department of Haldimand County advising it that McClung Properties was refusing to respond to Six Nations’ request for a meeting and that no development was to begin until Six Nations was consulted.”

“On Oct 7, 2014, another letter was sent to McClung Properties requesting a meeting to discuss the development, the failing of which could see Six Nations consider legal remedies. No response from that letter was received.”

Between 2013 and 2014, McClung Properties retained the archaeological firm of Amick Consultants Ltd. to do the archaeological investigations of the site. There was no attempt made to discuss the archaeological work that needed to be done or to retain Six Nations archaeological monitors to work on the site.

“In the fall of 2014, Amick submitted its report on the archaeological field work to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport,” Hill continues. “The report was found by the Ministry to be totally inadequate and they told Amick it would have to be done all over again, and that Six Nations must be involved in the investigations this time around.”

According to Hill, Amick told the Ministry on behalf of its client (Empire) that they will not comply, and this is where the matter now stands.

“Therefore, nothing will happen on the site until the dispute between Amick and the Ministry is resolved,” says Hill. “In the interim, Six Nations is prepared to intervene in the matter to protect its rights when the time is right.”

Earlier this year, a Caledonia resident, Ron Hubert, challenged the County and the Empire Communities over striking irregularities in required paperwork and protocol and for not consulting with Six Nations.

Alone in a room of real estate lawyers and Haldimand staffers, Hubert, who was defending himself, seemed at the time to be unprepared.

“I was advised beforehand through a certified copy that the merits of my motion would not be discussed that day at all,” Hubert complains.

He is crying foul and is now asking for a review of the decision that came from that hearing, which seemed to set his challenges aside, leaving many of his questions unanswered.

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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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