Wednesday, 18 December 2013

McKenzie Meadows Development Project: Update, No Surprises Here

In an earlier blog posting I provided considerable background material in relation to the McKenzie Meadows Development Project which was slated to begin at McKenzie Road, and in the later phases of development, reach Argyll Street immediately opposite the Douglas Creek Estates (Kanonhstaton) which was such a sore point for Six Nations and Caledonians back in 2006 (and continues to the present).  See here for this posting.  Here I predicted that the whole "deal" between the Six Nations Elected Band Council (SNEC) and Michael Corrado et al. the developer would turn sour once the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) and its "enforcement" wing the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) got wind of this.  As par for the course, despite the fact that SNEC are the group that by Canadian law are empowered to negotiate, the HCCC stepped in and was able to influence events.  Although "officially" defunct as of 1924, the HCCC have been and continue to be a power to contend with in any negotiations involving lands in the Haldimand Tract or Southwestern Ontario.  They can effectively shut everything down if they or the HDI are displeased with the way things are being handled (or for any other reason).

True to form, the whole agreement whereby $1250 from each home in the development would go to fund a Six Nations language immersion school, crumbled.  Here follows what is found in Turtle Island News, December 18, 2013, p. 7, Community gives thumbs down to the McKenzie Meadows project.  Ultimately now both SNEC and HCCC have jointly axed the deal.  The three community feedback sessions noted in my earlier posting brought forth 69 responses, and only 15 were positive - so no go.  SNEC Land and Resources Director Lonny Bomberry cited that the "emotional aspect" due to the proximity to the DCE and the "land reclamation" issue was the deciding factor.  In other words, having the project immediately across the road from the horrible situation of 2006 that left scars in both communities would, in the minds of some, just throw gasoline on the fire - thus it would be best to just leave things be, at least at this point.  In reality, it could be little more than the vocal opposition of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) that tipped the scales, who asserted "bad faith negotiations" with the developers.  Translation here, the HDI was not approached, and they are the self appointed "recognised" authority in the Community.  The developers, did not respect the Haudenosaunee Process, and due to a number of deaths in the Longhouse Community, no negotiations could take place.  The finger was also pointed at SNEC for not following protocol as HDI sees things.  The perception was also that by accepting this deal, Six Nations would be giving up land and treaty "rights".

As to what would happen next, Bomberry believes that this will end the possibility of the development proceeding.  I don't think they can proceed reports Bomberry.  While the wording of the article is a bit confusing, it seems that the opinion here is that the entire development will just grind to a halt, since Six Nations has not given their approval.  It should be recalled that this "deal" was in part to offset the developer's intention to obtain an injunction to allow the work to proceed.  Considering the recent rulings by judges of the Superior Court of Ontario, it is highly likely and even probable, in my opinion, that the developer will apply for an injunction and if anyone tries to interfere with his right to develop his land, they will expect to be heavily fined just as those involved in a similar action in Brantford were - and the fines in that matter have not been paid to this point.

As I have noted time and time again, if the evidence ever goes to Court, there is one and only one outcome that will emerge from a test of Six Nations claims of unceeded land beyond the present Reserve boundaries.  That decision would be that there is no factual basis upon which these claims rest.  Since this evidence has been available to the Courts since 2009, I am wondering when the boom will be lowered.  There are going to be a lot of jaws dropping when the evidence is presented, and a ruling is made and all appeals exhausted.  My question, posed elsewhere, is whether Six Nations will be forced to make reparations for the extreme damage caused by the 2006 Douglas Creek Estates land "reclamation" - the effects continue to this day, as the acrimony has never gone away.

Stay tuned, this situation is primed for a confrontation.


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