Protesters facing court injunction
Developer fed up with land dispute
February 25, 2009
Rachel De Lazzer
The Hamilton Spectator
HAGERSVILLE (Feb 25, 2009) [Six Nations territory, Ontario]
Pressure was mounting yesterday for natives to leave a housing development site where construction has been delayed for four months.
Developer Voortman & Associates Ltd. is seeking a court injunction to keep natives away from the site and plans to be on site at least four days this week.
The natives have blocked workers from developing the 46-unit condominium site on Main Street North several times.
Company officer John Voortman says he’s at “wit’s end” trying to move things forward on the 2.4-hectare site.
Workers returned to the site Monday for the third time since seeking the injunction last fall, only to be prevented by about 10 members of the men’s fire circle, parking their cars in front of one of the excavators.
Natives arrived at 6:30 a.m. yesterday before the workers, who planned to return today and tomorrow.
“Every day (the contractor) is there and not able to work, I’m sure it’s going to cost a few thousand dollars easy,” Voortman said.
OPP officers told him yesterday that they would read a declaration to the natives every day and ask them to leave.
“They’re going to say that we own the land, we have total rights to the land and we’re able to work on the land and they have no rights to be there,” Voortman added. “They will give them 15 minutes to vacate the site and then after that they could be charged with mischief.”
Voortman says he is still waiting for a court date for the injunction. He says the natives are stalling and previous court dates for the injunction have been postponed twice.
Both sides were in court Feb. 13 when three members of the men’s fire circle asked that the hearing be delayed a few weeks until they could bring someone from their circle with the appropriate authority.
Workers attempted to resume construction in October and again in December.
A member of the men’s fire circle who goes by the name Whoodat, said they would stay on the land until the workers left.
OPP Detective Matt Watson said criminal charges would be laid if any actions meet the criteria.