SIX NATIONS — The temperature in council chambers likely increased by a few degrees last night when Men’s Fire challenged Earl Johnson’s request for a permit that would allow him to continue dumping materials on his land.
Johnson is looking to help with the community’s known waste management problem by building a recycling plant on his property where members of the community could come and dispose of their recyclables and trash — easing the amount of waste being tossed into the Six Nation’s dump.
Johnson feels as though he is doing a good thing and said he needs the soil, clay and sand to build a raised bank that would protect against the wind from blowing papers and junk all over his land while the plant is built.
“I’m trying to help our community,” said Johnson. “The garbage dump in our area is growing and growing and I just want to help out.”
Problems arose a few weeks ago when Johnson’s plan to dump truckloads of materials on his land — he estimates 20 000 loads will be needed — was stopped by Men’s Fire. It is thought that maybe what Johnson is having brought into the reserve is not as clean as he is suggesting or that it is even soil at all.
“My guys went and saw the stuff that was being brought in,” said Bill Monture of Men’s Fire. “The trucks were full of bricks that could be full of asbestos, ABS piping and sand that is full of different shiny particles.”
Johnson said that all of the materials he is having brought in is clean and verified safe by all of the companies he is working with — he met with Chief Ava Hill last week where she asked him come to council yesterday prepared with all of the documents he would need to prove to the Six Nation’s council that the claims he was making are true.
“Our biggest concern with this whole situation is that you did all this [brought in these trucks] without any authorization or permission,” said Hill.
Hill said that if Johnson would provide some names — even just one — of the businesses he was dealing with, then council could contact them and find out the truth for themselves, but was surprised when Johnson said that he did not bring any documents to prove his case, nor did he present the names of any companies he has working for him.
“I didn’t have the time I needed to gather all of my information,” said Johnson. “I have no problem providing you the names, I just don’t have them on me right now.”
He said that he has a broker — named Shawn — who is dealing with the companies on his behalf, so trying to gather all of the information Chief Hill requested is proving difficult.
Councillor Helen Miller said that aside from whether or not Johnson should be allowed to have materials dumped on his land, council should consider the wear and tear that the roads bringing in all the trucks would undergo.
“I don’t think you [Johnson] are thinking about the community at all,” she said. “The roads are made of just chips and tar, how do you think they will look after your 20 000 trucks go through?”
Johnson said that he understands that the trucks could cause damage but that he will take care of it.
Councillor Hazel Johnson commended his desire to help the community, but at the same time was part of the elected council’s decision to not approve Johnson’s request for the permit to continue dumping materials on his property.
At the meeting, council also approved a request for a letter of support to be developed regarding a Truth and Reconciliation Mobile Education Classroom — a mobile bus that would travel through mostly non-native communities educating people on several indigenous topics.
A recommendation for council to consider designating land for the construction of a community splash pad was also approved. Some issues raised were where people might be able to park and whether or not a washroom or change room should be built alongside the splash pad.