Friday, March 14, 2008

Haldimand "Rebuilding Structure for Stability"

As the county had already forwarded their Recovery Plan to the Government without "public input", the Province insisted that the County do just that, make the document "public". The Province basically stated that they wanted feed back from the people before they considered giving the County any funds, whether it be the whole $56 million dollars or part of that amount. Anyone could have written a letter, put in a proposal, or simply commented on the county's Recovery Plan. The County will be notified at the end of March if any funds are coming our way.

The Caledonia Citizens Alliance did just that. They submitted their own plan called "Rebuilding Structure for Stability".

The county was not pleased with the Alliance for submitting this plan, and had to do as they stated in the local papers some "damage" control on "our behalf". There are also residents in Caledonia who are not so happy that the Alliance took this course of action, as they did the same thing the County did, they never asked the "public" for their "input".

The way I see it is the County once again didn't follow "due process". The County never asked the residents what are your thoughts, wishes, concerns etc. I am not saying that the County needs to have a "public" meeting every time they make a decision, but this was a huge project. And as I stated the Province was not too impressed that the County did this behind closed doors.

The one thing that I do fear is that there is a mixed message here. If I was on the outside looking in at these two proposals, what would I think? One from the County, another from a Citizens Group. I would ask this; Who is speaking on behalf of the taxpayers of Haldimand County?

I had e-mailed the Caledonia Alliance and asked them if they could send me the proposal that was sent to the Government. They had not problems with this and gave me full permission to post this on my blog. Here it is...........

Date: February 23, 2008
To: Office of Hon. Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.
From: Caledonia Citizens Alliance

Re: Rebuilding Structure for Stability

On February 13, Haldimand County CAO Don Boyle shared the rationale and priorities of the County’s list of recovery projects. Before an open meeting of approximately one hundred and fifty people, the CEO advised that the list was the result of cross-referencing County needs against existing government capital programs. While few took issue with the list or the rationale, the public took strong issue with the fact that the list was completely silent on three key issues which the community (Caledonia in particular), has endured for two years.

Launched on February 28, 2006, the Douglas Creek Estates protest by Six Nations is unique from most other claims in Canada because of it’s proximity to an urban area (Edmonton is the second such incident). The result has been significant third party impact well beyond the fundamental impact of an unresolved First Nations claim.

The resulting issues are:

Security – Ontario handed defacto control to Six Nations by requiring the OPP to secure 6N blessing on 6th Line policing……6N becomes escape route / haven for criminals.

Communications – The tri-partite claim resolution model (Fed/Prov/FN) leaves County and Caledonia residents out of the loop and dependent on 3rd party interpretation because layers of government vetting result in watered down content and are not timely.

Recovery – Developers, trades, retailers, the municipality, transport sector and community health agencies are all left with a radically different external context. Already strained, the private sector can ill afford to engage in the area economy when it offers little behavioural evidence of stability to act on strategic plans.

Acknowledge Reality. The public applauds the efforts of Haldimand County to document what it considers to be a logical list of recovery projects given government capital assistance programs.

However, it is unfortunate that process was essentially behind closed doors and did not engage their constituency – a critical error in strategic planning with the aim to galvanizing hope for the future.

For the Community to be supportive, the document must first of all acknowledge obvious challenges faced by the citizens – silence is unacceptable as it perpetuates grievances where hope is essential.

The document should reflect the following: State and acknowledge the key issues stated above.
If capital assistance programs free up County resources, state those secondary priorities.
Face the Caledonia community and its key issues head on.

Re-establishing Stability for Economic Function

Below are suggested objectives and tactics to help establish community confidence and effective economic function:

Respectfully, the Ontario government is talking from two different platforms when, on one hand, they say that they are not permitted to direct the OPP, yet require the OPP to seek out the blessing of the Haudenosaunee concerning policing on 6th and 7th Lines. Two years have passed!

Incrementally re-establish regular visible patrolling of 6th and 7th Line as obliged.
We have witnessed OPP officers working hard to take down criminals of all communities. However, applying the letter of the law and halting at the intersection of Argyle South and 6th Line while watching a criminal flee down the 6th Line to find haven on the Six Nations Reservation – does not make common sense.

The nature of people from all communities is such that if there is no accountability, there will be no reason to abide by the law. This is not simply a matter of concern for municipalities adjacent to Six Nations, but also an issue for Six Nations themselves. Encourage the municipalities (including Six Nations Council) along with their respective police boards to formulate strategies on this matter. Be supportive of the efforts of Six Nations Band Council Chief Bill Montour to enhance their police team and establish their own magistrate. Empower responsible citizens of all communities.

While HDI holds no authority, it functions like a thief, perpetuating disputes which rob everyone of time, energy and money. Murray Coolican and MAH Minister Watson have unequivocally stated that Ontario is confident in it’s title system and that HDI has no jurisdiction and developers/builders are not required to pay the fees asserted by HDI. But what behavioural action supports that stance?

Not only are Ontario businesses struggling with the impact if a par dollar and down turns in the auto sector, billions of dollars worth of development and construction are leaving a major economic corridor because the Ontario government cannot provide assurance that their framework of law and order is sufficiently stable to do business. ie: In Hagersville Dan Valentini’s approved housing project was disrupted by trespassers stirring things up on behalf of the Haudenosaunee. Can we not defend peace in the event site work is disrupted? Exercising "Tough love" means respect for the person not respect for bad behaviour. We can respect the claimant and give attention to the details of a claim while saying "no" to civil disobedience.

A tri-partite stakeholder model was established early on by governments to be utilized by Ron Doering and Murray Coolican for negotiating the Haldimand Tract claims. This model is sound for geographically remote sites where there is minimal third party impact. However, that is not the case in Caledonia and to complicate matters further, Six Nations representatives attending main table meetings utilize a sophisticated network of Internet blogs to get their slant out immediately upon exit from the negotiation room. Naturally there is hesitation around the introduction of another community stakeholder group which may complicate matters with another set of bias. However, there is room for a carefully selected communications lias that understands tough love, power, culture, negotiations, etc.

Building Hope

The Community applauds the work of negotiators Ron Doering and Murray Coolican in their efforts to resolve the claims. It is understood that this will take some time as Six Nations builds their governance model and as duty to consult processes are established. However, with multiple and sound offers on the table and no effort on the part of the Haudenosaunee to meet on the duty to consult, the need to put food on our plates and maintain the roof over our head continues. It is not a problem if Six Nations people wish to go slow and wait – but the creator says that work still needs to be done.

In organizing the list of suggestions listed below, consideration was given to the following objectives:

Haldimand strengths and opportunities as stated by Ottawa Consultant McSweeny:
Outstanding underutilized heavy industrial site;
Opportunity for strong continuing role in power generation;
Grand River corridor and Lake front appeal for tourism and culture; and
Food processing proximate to large markets.
Recovery through infrastructure
Facilitating community to community engagement
Listing in priority order with most important listed first

In addition to the above findings, it is prudent that we compliment the investment in heavy industry with the provision of fully serviced light industrial sites in each community of Haldimand County. This will enable the establishment of small to medium sized enterprises which not only target their services to heavy industry, but also the world’s niche markets. This is supported by the findings of Haldimand as a significant exporter/importer of skilled labour.

Community to Community

That the Ontario Minister of Health appoint a Family Health Team to Caledonia, Ontario. To date the Ministry has assigned 150 FHT’s in three waves over the last 4 years. The Liberal Government’s 2007 election campaign platform called for the allocation of another 50 teams over the subsequent 4 years. One has already been assigned to Sudbury which was the most underserved (as measured by doctor/patient ratio) community in Ontario. Caledonia is second from the bottom. The Mayor of Haldimand supports the idea and agreed to write letter supporting application. Can MP Diane Finley and MPP Toby Barrett also provide a letter of support to accompany our application?

Support the Community Support Centre with $100k/yr for 5 years to help deal with the sudden growth in community health and social challenges. As we have advised MAH Deputy Minister John Burke, the needs have changed and evolved over the last two years. Can HRDC and MAH or other programs assist us with perhaps a collaborative contribution to the above need?

Caledonia has great opportunity for a modest cost to link it’s walking paths and Haldimand’s undeveloped rail trails to the Hamilton and Niagara Escarpment network. A citizens group led by Tom Bernard is already established and sees this as another opportunity to bring people with an "Active Lives" mind set to Caledonia. In addition, Don Bowman has assembled a team to launch an annual Father’s Day event on and along the Grand River to also provide opportunity for community to community engagement. Haldimand County has plans for the County which include a link to Hamilton as well as Niagara and includes a Rotary Trail along the River that could link to Brantford. This project could be leveraged with a $250k contribution from each of the 3 levels of government with an additional requirement for private/community contributions on either an in-kind or cash basis not less than $250k.

The County Recreation Department would be required to have a $1mln plan approved for implementation over 3 years to be fully completed by September 2010. The City of Brantford and Six Nations could be approached to contribute to link it to their respective communities.
Ask Minister Bryant to appoint a multi-community team to generate a proposal for the long-term use of DCE. The Lias Table that meets every two weeks should be encouraged to look at this question. (while guarding against a pre-empted idea: many ideas have been suggested and include: history centre, indigenous plants of the Grand, arboretum, medical centre, aquatic centre, fire hall, Aboriginal Affairs office)

Infrastructure:

Since 2000, development in Caledonia has universally rallied around the East side development concept of the McClung Bridge and ring road. This has been driven by a need to be sensitive to Six Nations to the SE, the need to integrate disaster recovery logic into transport arteries and it’s proximity to land available for future development. The McClung Bridge and ring road costs $17mln. Ontario has $3mln designated for a detour and temporary Bailey to support reconstruction of the Argyle Bridge, but this money can be re-allocated to the McClung project. The County is in a position to take $1.3mln designated to a third lane of the Argyle Bridge project and reallocate to the McClung project. The private developers could be invited to participate by capitalizing the roads while governments could agree to tackle the bridge. This has potential to be a wonderful joint initiative. As a second phase of this project, the ring road can be connected to the HWY 6 bypass by the installation of a cloverleaf to provide convenient access to Six Nations as well as Caledonia South. This cloverleaf can be a joint project of Six Nations and Haldimand County as and if each party is inclined. It also has the potential to help reduce tensions associated with the policing of 6th Line. We suspect it is not prudent to proceed with the construction of the Stirling Bridge, so the $1mln federal money should be gratefully declined and settlement made with the developer of Stirling Woods.

Small businesses are collectively a critical component to the Canadian economy. While the development of large industry is important for employment, it is equally important that a compliment of fully serviced light industrial parks be available in the region. While the County should be encouraged to pursue this in all it’s major communities, in Caledonia it should focus on the NE Quad and complete servicing in the NW Quad. Small and medium business enterprises serve to meet needs in niche markets throughout the world and form a material part of the Canadian economy. Their strength is their ability to be agile in a constantly changing global marketplace.

Advancing the development of the Nanticoke Industrial Park is a sound move, particularly for Ontario’s economic engine and challenges as previously stated. Again, Haldimand County can more effectively advise concerning cost and strategy.

The Nanticoke Water Scheme is a sound long term water strategy involving multiple municipalities. This will utilize existing intakes in Lake Ontario to disbursement into Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations, Brantford, Cambridge, etc. This is a material project which will undoubtedly galvanize strong support from Ontario. Haldimand County can provide better cost and engineering details than is available to citizens. Obviously, advancing the Nanticoke Water Scheme also begs the need to ensure the network has sufficient capacity to effectively deal with the potential sewage once the water is utilized.

Commerce

Contribute grant money to renovate the Old Arena. Situated on the Caledonia Fairgrounds, the Old Arena is poised to become a vibrant community building for "dry" assembly purposes. Current use is diverse and includes trade shows, dog shows, sporting events, car shows, heritage festivals, fundraisers, youth activities (ie. 4-H, church) and concerts. Renovations to convert it to a year-round, modern, multi-purpose facility would enhance its potential not only for the local community but attract outside organizations and businesses. The feasibility study is near completion and the anticipated $2mln renovation includes: address any structural needs including removal of old concrete bleachers, insulation, heating systems, variety of rooms sizes for service clubs and meetings, new fully accessible washrooms/showers/change rooms, commercial kitchen, office/service space for special need groups, AV, acoustic and d├ęcor for special events. Canada and Ontario each grant $750k to renovate the Old Arena. The Caledonia Fair Board and community have already raised money to pay for the feasibility study, so there should be will for the community to rally and raise the rest including an cost overruns in excess of $2mln. A redevelopment project fits very well with the current situation.

It is a proven fact that retention is a great deal less costly than expansion. We thank governments for helping Caledonia with resources for the BR+E project and look forward to engaging the results being generated by 40 volunteers from a cross-section of 250 businesses. The report is expected to be available in July 2008.

Respectfully Submitted

The Caledonia Citizens Alliance thanks those receiving and considering the above ideas and concedes that this document does not do justice to the details of each project nor the efforts of the people working behind the scenes on resolving those details. Contacts for each project and further comment can be provided by Jason Clark and Ralph Luimes.

10 comments:

  1. Donna thanks for posting this, what a plan.

    I have read both plans and I have to say hats off to the alliance. They did a lot of work and imagine without high paying staff's input. This is the kind of work that we should expect from our County.

    I just finished reading the one about the wallet and I am furious that we are paying these people that kind of money. But back to the alliance, Do you know if they were paid any money to do this plan, or was it on a volunteer basis?

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  2. This is a very unprofessional document, and has no more public input than Council's plan.

    There is no evidence on their website that the Alliance met with anyone about this. They haven't even posted it themselves!!

    WHO is the Alliance?
    WHO wrote the document?

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  3. I am a member of the Caledonia Citizens Alliance. First of all, we did this purely on a voluntary basis. Secondly, we did our best to get public input ahead of time. We met with Craig Grice and discussed ideas for Caledonia with him, we met with many area business people and residents. It's true, we didn't hold any public meetings because we just don't have the resources to deal with that much input at once, but like I said, we held countless one on one discussions.

    Finally, I would like to mention that we tried over and over to get the County to ask for "public input". Councilor Grice was turned down by the rest of Council, my Councilor (Tony Dalimonte) didn't return any of my emails, so finally we went to the Mayor. The Mayor set up a meeting with Diane Finley. It was at this meeting where we asked for our Plan to be attatched to the County Plan, not advanced in competition with the County Plan. The Mayor was very careful to make this clear to Minister Finley. Shortly afterward, I called Buck Sloat when he was in Toronto preparing for a meeting with a liberal cabinet minister, I let him know about our meeting with Diane, he wasn't happy but he appreciated the "heads up". During this call, he and I agreed that we would all be better off working together rather than at odd's with one another. The following week, he stands up at a public council meeting and blasts us for going behind his back?? The truth is, we had the Mayor with us so how can anyone say we went behind Council's back? Unless I'm missing something, we live in a democracy where anyone can call their political representative and make their case. At the end of the day, we exist because we don't feel Caldonia is being well represented by Haldimand County regarding the DCE situation and all of the fall-out that has resulted from it. We want to do what we can for our community. Period.

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  4. WHAT IF?


    As I recall all of the unrest over the past two years in Caledonia started with a group of Native people occupying a construction sight, claiming that the land was rightfully theirs, that they were cheated out of it by the Federal Government and that they wanted it and all other stolen lands back.

    Now if this was the case, then the problem was between the Natives and the Government with of course the contractors caught in the middle. Then a number of local residents it seems took it as a personal affront claiming that the natives had no right to interfere with the business of the local contractors and demanding that all forms of government do something to stop this “illegal occupation” and move the native people off of said land in order that connstruction could resume. Enough public pressure was put on the government that the OPP were sent in to raid the occupied sight and remove all of the protestors and that’s when the trouble really began. The police raid was unsuccessful, many more protestors joined the ones already there, roads and railways were blocked, fires were started and in the words of one of our local politicians “all hell broke loose”. Since then the contractors received a substantial payoff and I have no idea where they are now, there are still a handful of natives I guess occupying the site, and what started out as a battle between the Natives and the Government over land claims has turned into an out and out war between local native people and local non-native residents involving a vast number of complaints, most of which have nothing to do with the initial occupation or land claims.

    Now I’m just your average Joe and I won’t pretend to have all of the answers but I do have a lot of questions:

    1)What if the locals with homes bordering the construction sight when the occupation commenced had packed up some coffee, maybe a few snacks, and gone to visit the native occupiers, sat down and had a chat and asked them just exactly why they were there and what they could do to help get this situation resolved?

    2)What if local residents hadn’t seen it as their duty to stand up and defend the local contractors and had just let them fight their own battle?

    3)What if everyone else just minded their own business and allowed the native people the time they need to resolve these issues with a government which still doesn’t appear to be moving forward with any real results?

    4)What if local businesses and the native people had seen the occupation as a commercial opportunity to attract tourists, educate them on the native issues and raise both money and awareness for the cause and local businesses?

    5)What if???????????

    Like I said, I don’t have all of the answers but I do know this, I know that if one man approaches another with a smile on his face and his hand outstretched for a handshake he may well be greeted in the same manner. If that same man approaches another with his hands balled up into fists and a sneer on his face he is damn sure going to face a fight.

    Now we have two groups, namely Haldimand County Council and the Caledonia Alliance approaching higher levels of government with their hands out looking for money and each have their own ideas on how this money should be allocated and to the best of my knowledge neither of these groups have asked the public at large for any input. Is being given this money going to correct the situation or resolve the conflicts?

    It would seem that the reason why we got here in the first place has been buried under the desire to receive money for pet projects..

    I think it’s time to start over, to return the focus of the occupation to where it belongs, resolving land claim issues. If I were a contractor I would mind my own business and not get involved in the politics. If the HDI guaranteed me that I could continue with business as usual by paying them a development fee I would do so ( we have to pay our governments fees for development and it’s not their land either is it?), look at it as the price of doing business, submit my bill to the government (because the government has told us not to pay this fee but they won’t provide us any protection from the consequences of not doing so) and claim the expense on my income tax. If I were the owner of a business in Caledonia, instead of fighting with the native people I would approach them and try to find a way to turn the situation into a positive one for all involved. And if I were a neighbour I would start acting like one and see if we couldn’t restore peace and good will to the neighbourhood.

    But like I said before, I’m just a simple man.

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  5. LOL alot of IF's

    Heres one for ya.....

    IF you lived in Caledonia...and witnessed the things that the residents of Caledonia (both Native and Non-Native) have witnessed and had to endure....you would feel differently. Guaranteed.

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  6. or this one.....
    If you took the time to talk to all the residents you would know that there are residents that live in Caledonia that agree with the comments posted by "what if"

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  7. If you took the time to talk to ALL the residents you would know that there are residents that live in Caledonia that agree with the comments posted directly by "alot of IF's"

    What if the Natives had gone to the town to tell them what their plans were?

    Wait!!!!!!...its only the non-natives that have to RESPECTFULLY consider their neighbors.

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  8. I would like to add a comment to this comment from what if,

    Enough public pressure was put on the government that the OPP were sent in to raid the occupied sight and remove all of the protestors and that’s when the trouble really began.

    The builders went to court and got an injunction that the OPP ignored, simple as that.

    If what if had replaced all the non native neighbours with just neighbours I would agree. But as the way it stands this person is being one sided.

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  9. What If we just all stayed in the comfort of our own homes and pay no attention to our surroundings.

    What If we all just mind our own business.

    What If we just start all being positive that the government is doing their jobs.

    What If we agree with the occupiers that we just need to give all the land back and ignore the title deed system of Ontario, In fact they can have my land as well.

    What If..................

    I say thank you to the people on both sides that are vocal, this shows how much you care, right or wrong.

    What I do not agree with is the blatent ignoring of Canadian Laws, that has got to stop. That is dangerous.

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  10. Thanks for your comments.

    Jason thank you for the clarification.
    Donna

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