I was aware that there would be some housing built at the corner of Highway 6 (Caithness Street) and McClung Road immediately east of the old community of Seneca (now part of Caledonia). Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the "McClung Community" would include 3,500 residential units - which would translate to about 14,000 or so new people living in the area - eclipsing Caledonia itself.
To be perfectly frank, whether I lived in Caledonia or Six Nations I would be angry about this new development. The road system alone (let alone the rest of the infrastructure) will buckle under the weight of all the new traffic. Caledonia at almost any time of the day is a driver's nightmare, especially Argyll and Caithness Streets.
Assuming that it is true what some Six Nations elders have told me, that the "reclamation" of Douglas Creek Estates was due in part to the feeling of being choked by new developments that would soon surround Six Nations - how will this new "enterprise" be perceived? This is a perfectly valid concern. Whether Six Nations has any rights to the land, or a legal claim, is beside the point. All residents will be impacted by this pro - development decision.
The specifics of the plan are included in The Sachem, November 21, 2013, p. 2. Here Councillor Craig Grice states that, This is simply not a new subdivision, this is a new community being built. A total of 532 acres along McClung Road, from Caithness Street (along the Grand River) to Regional Road 66 will be taken out of agricultural use, and zoned residential. As Councillor Grice describes it, the new development will be, Caledonia beside Caledonia. That's how big it is. It's a community. Furthermore, I think that its going to change the face of Caledonia for years to come. Also, It will change the way Caledonia sees itself today.
Councillor Grice continues to heap praise on the project saying, This is certainly a very positive thing, and upon completion, it will certainly be good for the economy. Perhaps it will be a boon to the local economy, but that remains to be seen. I expect that, and understandably so, local business owners will be wringing their hands in glee. I fully understand that. However if I was a Caledonia resident, I would not hold my breath for any sort of tax relief or anything of that nature.
As to just when we are likely to see the landscape change, the newspaper stated, Council had earmarked the construction for 2022 as a placeholder, and it would be contingent on development occurring at McClung as well as annual capital budget approvals leading up to the construction. I don't know what this means, will development start now in the early stages, to be ramped up to 2022? It is unclear to this writer.
The environment of the area and surrounds would be irrevocably altered - more suburban sprawl, perhaps like the boxy and characterless area recently developed north of Caledonia at Whitechurch Road. The beautiful Seneca Park at the foot of McClung Road (by the River), which has the largest parking lot for any of the areas with good hiking, would be gone as a bridge will be built here scarring the landscape and arguably doing nothing to alleviate the gridlock in Caledonia along Argyll Street.
Personally I would not be averse to some development along McClung Road, I already had a heads up for this and expected to see a construction site there at any time. A sensible expansion to Caledonia is one thing, but the creation of another town that will become a city is simply over the top.
Is it possible that this placement of what amounts to a new city on our doorstep will trigger the action of not only Six Nations activists, but also concerned local residents of Caledonia and Haldimand County who value the rural setting of their community? By presenting a common front, the Six Nations and White neighbours could present a very effective voice against this mega development.