Protesters stop work on housing project
Posted By SUSAN GAMBLE, BRANTFORD EXPOSITOR STAFF [Ontario]
Friday, January 23, 2009
Workers will be off the job today at the Empire Homes housing development on Conklin Road after native protesters halted the project.
A representative of Empire Homes said the company voluntarily shut down work at the site Thursday and will remain off work today.
Mary Morrello, of Empire Communities, downplayed Thursday’s protest, saying the company is holding talks with native representatives.
“We are totally onside with the aboriginals and understand their plight 100 per cent but we also have a clean title to the lands, so there’s a bigger issue here than us,” she said.
“We wish we could help them but the issue is so big, it’s beyond us.”
Morrello said that, despite some of the catcalls from construction workers Thursday morning, the protest was peaceful.
“The workers were upset because this is their livelihood but the construction superintendent has spoken to the tradespeople. We just want peace.”
Construction workers yelled at about 15 to 20 protesters as a dozen police officers tried to form a line between the two groups.
About 50 to 60 Empire workers left the site, said protester Gene Johns.
“They’re not supposed to be digging here,” said Johns. “This is the third time we’ve been here and they won’t listen.”
Johns said he represents the Six Nations Confederacy and the community.