Protesters blockade Brantford hotel site

Posted: March 19, 2008 in Brantford, HDI, Headlines, Land claims, Native Extortion, Natives

The Brantford Expositor

Six Nations activists say they will continue to block construction for a new hotel in the city’s northwest until its owners comply with all Confederacy demands.

“They’re trying to come on the site but we can’t let them do it until they comply with all requirements,” native activist Floyd Montour said in an interview at noon Monday.

A half-dozen protesters refused to allow representatives for Bawa Hotels Canada and Abcott Construction onto the site of a hotel and adjoining plaza in the early stages of construction at Oak Park and Fenridge roads, just south of Highway 403.

While Montour spoke, the representatives for the hotel and the construction company walked away in frustration.

They had driven to the site to talk to protesters after some members of a construction crew arrived earlier in the morning to find protesters lined up, with vehicles and native flags blocking the gravel entrance.

The protesters had been there since 6 a.m. The arriving crew members drove away when they realized their way was blocked.

Montour was told in a later telephone call that representatives of the builder and the hotel owner were coming to the site to talk.

When they arrived, Montour told them they must present to the Haudenoshaunee Development Institute reports from archeological and environmental assessments of the site, plus application and development fees, because the land is subject to a Six Nations land claim.

The company officials told him they would return later with the reports.

They waved off media requests for comment as they got into their vehicles and drove away.

“I understand they want to come on and work because they want to make a living,” Montour said, “but they’ve been given more than a month to get all their papers in.”

He said the Haudenoshaunee consider the property to be in a land claim area and are concerned about native heritage rights on the site.

city cleared project

“If we find one human bone, it could stop construction for good,” he said.

Stephen Naylor, the city’s director of current planning, said later that the site has undergone an archeological assessment and has been cleared by the province for development to proceed.

Monday’s blockade was the seventh action by the Montour group at that site. Montour said he and the small group of protesters are acting on behalf of the Six Nations Haudenoshaunee Confederacy and the HDI, set up by the Confederacy to oversee native interests concerning developments in the Haldimand Tract.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mike Hancock said he is concerned about the latest action at the hotel site and others elsewhere in the city.

“The continued protests in my view are not helping the negotiations, nor are they helping relations in the community,” Hancock said.

“If they go on much longer, this could be very bad for our community and our neighbours.”

He said it’s city council’s position that the hotel builder and others have a right to develop once they have received approval for their projects, and issues raised by the protesters are best addressed at the land claims negotiating tables.

Hancock spent a good part of Monday on the phone voicing his frustration to people connected with the talks.

“Brantford has, to a very large extent, become the collateral damage of the negotiating process,” he said.

“We have no part in it, yet we are greatly affected by it. It is unfair and very unreasonable. Projects like the hotel will hire many people, including natives. To put our employers in this position is even more unfair.”

Although the protesters have voiced their opposition to several developments in and around the city during the past year, they have more recently concentrated their efforts at two prominent job sites: the hotel and a $40-million power centre at Wayne Gretzky Parkway and Henry Street.

The Confederacy is trying to get developers to recognize the HDI’s legitimacy and pay application and development fees.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has said the province only recognizes right of municipalities to levy development charges.

  1. WL Mackenzie Redux says:

    McGuinty watches as they commit open fraud and extortion…there is no rule of law in Ontario. The deeding and development laws are unenforced. ALL deeded property is in peril of fraudulent encumbrance. McGuinty has breeched his oath of office. Indict him and let’s go to the polls and elect a real leader who obeys the law and enforces it equitably.

  2. Seems the Dalton McGuinty government is all talk and no action respecting the activities of the HDI.

    Perhaps he should instruct Brantford to refund the development fees they charged the developer so they won’t have to pay twice?

    According to an HDI spokeman they have already raked in over $70,000 in fees from at least ten developers, with many more to follow.

    What has the Dalton McGuinty Liberals done about this, nothing at all.

  3. Freda Josey says:

    I agree that these people should be charged with extortion, but at the same time its the federal gov’t that hasnt dealt with the land claims.

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