Aug. 21 meeting open to the public
Posted By KAREN BEST CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Posted 6 hours ago
Two representatives of the Canadian government will explain how land is added to reserves at a public information meeting next week.
Federal community liaison Doug Forbes will accompany Linda MacWilliams who is an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) employee. She is the regional manager of lands and additions to reserves.
At the Aug. 21 public meeting, she will make a presentation on the additions to reserves policy, said a ministry spokesperson.
"This information session is part of an ongoing effort across the country to address questions of local officials with regard to the additions to reserve policies," said Patricia Valladao. This session was provided at the request of Haldimand County council, she added.
It is not designed to be an opportunity to discuss negotiations with Six Nations and the province, she noted. Coun. Buck Sloat said council members were aware that the presentation will be for information only. "It's important that we hear it," he told The Chronicle.
The public and the media will know how the process works, he added.
During the meeting, only council members can ask questions. The session begins at 9:30 a. m. in the council chambers in the Cayuga county building.
When the county hears it has no say in transfers, Sloat anticipated that council members will send a strong message to INAC minister Chuck Strahl and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
After the session, Sloat will ask people to write letters requesting a change in the policy. In his opinion, any time land is taken away from a municipality or a boundary is altered, the municipality should have veto rights. This is an amendment he wants to see, he added.
While opposed to loss of municipal property, Sloat said he supported people selling land to whomever they choose. But that should not erode the municipal tax base and the new owner should pay property taxes, he added.
He also noted that smoke shops on Highway 6 show planning is non-existent in Six Nations. If the county's land base erodes further, this will become worse, said Sloat at this week's council meeting.
"We have to protect land in Haldimand County for all persons and businesses," said Coun. Craig Grice adding he was not against Six Nations people.
Council decided to invite Haldimand Norfolk MP Diane Finley and Haldimand Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett to the session.
At this week's council meeting, members unanimously endorsed Sloat's motion to refuse to accept erosion of the municipal tax base or loss of planning and regulatory controls due to purchase, transfer or negotiated conversion of land to First Nations reserves.
Article ID# 1157765