Statement from Mayor Ken Hewitt & Council regarding local COVID-19 situation, Caledonia protest

COVID

Haldimand County did not extend its face mask bylaw because the Provincial order with respect to wearing face masks takes precedence and so there was no need to overlap with another bylaw that would only cause confusion. Haldimand County respects the Provincial orders and fully subscribes to the face mask rules as outlined by them.

As we are seeing numbers increase in the surrounding areas, I implore you all to be vigilant in social distancing and wearing masks where appropriate. You are doing your part and you are making a difference. Particularly for our most vulnerable, including our small businesses that we wish to remain open throughout this difficult time. Currently under the new tiered system we are green and let’s keep that way.

CALEDONIA PROTEST

Who has registered ownership of the lands at 1535 McKenzie?

Foxgate Developments Inc., a development company jointly owned by Losani Homes and Ballantry Homes, has held legal title to the McKenzie Lands now for five years. There has never been any claim made by any indigenous group against the title to the lands. The history is that in 1835 and 1841 the McKenzie Lands were surrendered by the Six Nations to the Federal Crown, which sold them via Crown Grant in 1853 to Thomas Nicholls. The Federal Crown grant and patent form a certified a root of ownership. Continuously from 1853 until today, the McKenzie lands were owned, occupied, and sold to third party residents and farmers without any claims registered against title. In 2006 the Province of Ontario certified the title giving “Fee Simple Absolute Title” to the previous owner that sold the property to Foxgate.

Are the lands at 1535 approved for development?

Yes. The lands were approved for development in 2003 by the County of Haldimand. In 2006 the lands were designated as a Growth Plan Area for Development.  In 2015 Foxgate Developments resurrected the 2003 approvals and had them fully re-approved by the County in 2017.  In 2019 the County approved the site servicing (roads, sewers and watermains), and in July when the protests began, the site was almost fully serviced. In August 2020 the Province reviewed its Growth Plan and included 1535 McKenzie Road (and all of Haldimand County that is not on the Reserve) in its up to date Growth Plan for Development shown below. To be clear, except for the Six Nations Reserve which straddles the Brant-Haldimand border, none of the “Haldimand Tract” lands are held back from being “Growth Plan Area”.  The Province fully encourages growth and development in the Haldimand Tract.

 Why did Haldimand County approve the development?

For the same reasons that development is approved in the Haldimand Tract everywhere else such as Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford etc.

In good faith, Haldimand County  — through its notification agreement with Six Nations – was very transparent regarding this plan and every other plan in Haldimand. Why would we assume that after a legal binding agreement with the Band Council signed and accepted anything would prevent this from happening? In fact, we were encouraged by the very agreement that this was a positive step forward in working with Six Nations. It was by no means to suggest that the value of the land was such as they already paid millions for it and it was by no means to suggest that the real claim in front of the Feds was diminished by this agreement. It was simply to recognize that the ongoing issues with our Nations were still in court.

Why don’t we just freeze development?

You cannot simply just stop development for many reasons. It takes many yeas and dollars for developments like this to become real. There has to be some reliance on the planning process for these companies to secure financing for these projects. As a tax payer you rely on development to keep your taxes relatively low. Without development you can add approximately 3% to your annual tax rates.   Every municipality needs growth to pay for the needs and wants of those living within.

 

Stay Safe,

Mayor Ken Hewitt

 

COVID-19 Outbreak Declared at Grandview Lodge

Grandview Lodge has declared a COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of protocols requiring regular testing of Grandview Lodge Staff to ensure safety of residents, on Tuesday, November 3rd three staff within the home were confirmed to have tested positive. The staff members are currently self-isolating. For the protection of the residents, and in accordance with Ministry of Health requirements, all visits within the home are suspended effective immediately.

At this time, Grandview Lodge will be working with Public Health to ensure the safety of all residents. “As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, staff are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to contain the virus and protect our residents”, says Cathy Case, General Manager of Corporate & Social Services.

Necessary personal protective equipment is worn by Grandview staff at all times when interacting with residents. Grandview Lodge staff and residents have the full support of Haldimand County and our thoughts are with the three staff members as they recover.

Grandview Lodge/Haldimand County will continue to work diligently with the public health department and Ministry of Health requirements to manage this outbreak. Further updates will be provided as necessary.

Resident family members may contact Lori Beale with any questions or concerns: 905-774-7547 ext. 2221.

 

Flood Watch for Lake Erie shoreline extended as high winds continue

The Flood Watch in effect for the Lake Erie shoreline has been extended until Tuesday, November 3. High winds and strong waves are expected to continue along the lake and minor flooding, wave uprush and shoreline erosion is expected in low lying areas.

Environment Canada has issued a strong wind warning, and is forecasting west/southwest winds Monday afternoon and into the evening. Winds are expected to reach 55 km/h with gusts up to 90 km/h.

Lake levels are expected to remain elevated between Monday afternoon and the early hours of Tuesday. Wave heights are forecast to reach up to 1.65 meters along the shoreline in Long Point Region Conservation Authority’s watershed.

Haldimand County Emergency Services is advising the public to use caution or stay away from shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

High winds can toss loose objects and turn them into dangerous projectiles. For this reason, residents along the lake are encouraged to shut storm shutters and tie down or secure outdoor items.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring conditions throughout Monday and overnight into Tuesday. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updated flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This Flood Watch is in effect until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and will be updated as required.

Flood Watch in effect for Lake Erie shoreline

On Saturday, October 31, Long Point Region Conservation Authority issued a flood watch for the Lake Erie shoreline. High winds and strong waves are expected along the lake and there is a risk of minor flooding, wave uprush and shoreline erosion in low lying areas.

Environment Canada has issued a strong wind warning and is forecasting southwesterly winds starting early Sunday morning that will continue into the evening. Winds are expected to reach of 50 km/h with gusts up to 80 km/h.

Lake levels are expected to remain elevated between noon on Sunday and 10:00 pm. Wave heights are forecast to reach up to 1.4 m along the shoreline in LPRCA’s watershed.

Haldimand County Emergency Services is advising the public to use caution or stay away from shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

High winds can toss loose objects and turn them into dangerous projectiles. For this reason, residents along the lake are encouraged to shut storm shutters and tie down or secure outdoor items.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring conditions throughout Sunday. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updated flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This Flood Watch is in effect until 9 a.m. on Monday, November 2, 2020 and will be updated as required.

Arena Program Participants Test Positive For Covid-19, No Immediate Risk To Staff Or Public

Haldimand County has been made aware that participants in several ice-user groups at Dunnville, Cayuga and Caledonia arenas have tested positive for COVID-19.

Affected individuals are currently self-isolating and additional disinfecting measures have been carried out at all three facilities. A public health management plan has been initiated by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit and there is no immediate threat to staff or the public. The arenas remain open at this time.

Each instance involves independent leagues who had no interactions with other arena users. Disinfection occurs between each rink rental, and all publicly accessible areas are thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated daily.

Haldimand County remains committed to enforcing its rigorous facility use protocols to ensure the health and safety of arena users. These protocols have been put in place to maximize the health and safety of everyone at the facility and minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19.  Meeting these goals requires the cooperation and compliance by all  facility users.

The Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit has reviewed the arena protocols in effect and have not indicated any concerns at this time.

Haldimand County Face Covering By-Law Will Not Be Extended In Light Of Stricter, Provincially-Mandated Regulations

Haldimand County’s temporary Face Covering By-Law No. 2191/20, which took effect August 1, 2020, is set to expire November 3. Council will not be extending the by-law as stricter, provincially-mandated regulations are now in effect.

The Province’s face covering regulations took effect October 5 and require that all businesses and organizations in Ontario require persons to wear a face covering in public areas at all times. These regulations supersede those outlined in the County’s by-law.

County staff will continue to have a role in education and enforcement of the Province’s regulations. The OPP will similarly continue with a role in this regard.

Should the Province rescind its regulations, staff will seek advice from the Health Unit and if necessary, work towards bringing another by-law forward for Council’s consideration. At this time there has been no indication from the Province as to when face covering regulations might be rescinded, and it is expected that they will remain in effect throughout the winter months.

Haldimand County will continue working closely with the Health Unit in managing the local COVID-19 response.

For more information about the local COVID-19 situation, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19 or HNHU.org.

Information on Provincial face covering regulations is available at Ontario.ca.

Residents Reminded To Replace Batteries In Smoke/CO Alarms When Turning Clocks Back This Weekend

Clocks will fall back one hour at 2am on November 1 and Haldimand County Emergency Services recommends that residents install new batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when they change their clocks.

“In order for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to do their job, they need to have working batteries,” explained Captain Richard Geerdink. “At least once a year, old batteries should be replaced with new batteries. When you change your clocks this November 1, Haldimand Emergency Services wants everyone to take the time to install new batteries in all alarms.”

In order to survive a fire, you need early warning and know what to do when the smoke alarms sound. Working smoke alarms are required on every floor of the home and outside all sleeping areas. For added protection, it is also recommended to install smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

Tampering with or removing the batteries from your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is against the law. Failure to comply with the Fire Code can result in a fine from $360 up to $50,000.

Consider replacing expired or old alarms with combination alarms, which have the capability of alarming for both smoke and carbon monoxide emergencies.

Residents who have questions about fire/CO prevention may also contact the Fire Prevention Bureau directly at 905-318-5932 for guidance. Assistance is available for low-income or vulnerable residents who need support obtaining fire/CO alarms or batteries.

Statement from Mayor Hewitt and Council regarding Caledonia protest

Well, if there was any doubt regarding the peaceful approach of these protestors – actually professional agitators as some could be called – we have seen clearly their real actions and their complete disregard for public infrastructure and the officers sworn to protect and serve the public. Their actions are despicable and unforgivable in a time where our first responders should be given the utmost respect in helping our communities through these difficult times.

To suggest that the OPP started a confrontation giving these individuals the idea to strip the very rights of those living in Caledonia by the destruction of several main roads is completely preposterous and further demonstrates that other agendas exist. Violence is not being promoted by the OPP, the courts or us locally. The violence exists with those that were clearly seen on video by the OPP.

OPP do not just start firing weapons into crowds because they are bored. Those insinuations are purely an effort to garner support of their misguided decisions. These same peaceful protestors, despite our efforts, have to date said “NO” to both OPP and Six Nation Police escorting Hydro workers in to restore power from the burned out pole for residents living on the adjacent farm. They currently are running on a generator to provide heat and hydro to their home since the incident. That is the true picture of the people that some feel obliged to support. They should take a harder look a their own actions.

Another very disturbing issue and the only thing that I can agree with the protestors on is that no one has heard any responses from the Federal government who carries all the weight in terms of discussions to be had with members of Six Nations. It is disgusting that with all the pleas from all parties we still have no engagement from them.

I have been in contact with the Provincial Minister Greg Rickford and he agrees with the position of getting the Federal government involved to engage leaders on Six Nations.

People have asked “what can be done?” I encourage you to in every possible way contact both the Provincial and Federal governments. They must engage, they must put forth a path to get this into a board room and off our streets.

 

Caledonia Protest Update

On Thursday, October 22, 2020, following the granting of permanent injunctions to Foxgate Developments and Haldimand County to prohibit the continued occupation of the development site in Caledonia or on municipal property, a group of protestors began illegal and violent actions to block and vandalize municipal and Provincial property and roads.

While Haldimand County has consistently supported the need for senior levels of government to address outstanding indigenous land claims in our area, the actions of a few that flaunt our basic institutions and the rule of law must be condemned. No matter how important an issue may be, deliberately taking illegal actions that create chaos for others cannot be tolerated. The end does not justify the means in a civil society regardless of historic injustices.

Haldimand County is using all of its resources and influence with the Province, the Ontario Provincial Police and Six Nations to encourage and promote a peaceful restoration of the blocked roads and end to the illegal occupation of lands. We do not believe that the actions taken yesterday reflect the values of the wider Six Nations community, nor have the support of its leaders and we are hopeful that the community will similarly condemn the use of illegal tactics and take action to help resolve the matter quickly and peacefully.

Residents who are impacted by these actions are asked to remain calm and have patience as we work toward a resolution of this very fluid situation. The County is taking steps to ensure that fire and paramedic services remain available to respond quickly to any calls for service and that, as much as possible, adequate traffic management initiatives are in place and all services continue to be provided. Residents are encourage to visit www.haldimandcounty.ca for information on road closures and service changes that may occur as a result of the current situation.

Mayor Ken Hewitt said “we recognize how difficult and unfair it is to our community to regularly be dramatically impacted as pawns in a dispute in which we are not a party. The current road blockades and damage to them need to be resolved immediately and anyone who believes in a just and fair society where laws have meaning should be advocating to the Province to take appropriate steps in this regard.”

Statement from Mayor Ken Hewitt & Council regarding McKenzie Meadows occupation

A permanent injunction has been granted by Justice Harper to both Foxgate Developments and Haldimand County.

Sadly, Six Nations missed an opportunity today to bring both Crowns into court.  As I mentioned, Skyler had the opportunity to help further the cause that everyone on Six Nations has been long awaiting and hoping for.

His choice to continue to abuse the process and openly defy the court that was prepared to facilitate the Crown legally into the proceedings has let all of Six Nations and those in Caledonia affected down.

He does not want to be called a leader, but his actions over the past few months have warranted that and he has assumed a role with his postings, his ask for monies, and his support of violent actions that have transpired over time.

I have and will always support a process that brings the Nations together to adopt a transparent methodology that will advance the Haldimand Tract claims. It must be done peacefully and respectfully.   None of which would be consistent of the actions of those on McKenzie Meadows.

Striking a working table that can capture the needs of those on Six Nations and ensuring their voices are heard within the context of what could be Nation to Nation would be a positive step in achieving a solution. One that many people could get behind.

He has been clear that he does not lead his people, and I would agree with him on that. Most do not lead, but many follow. When decisions are made by people of influence, such as Skyler that ultimately affect others, it will bring scrutiny and many opinions. A decision made will never capture the interests of everyone especially one so polarizing as ongoing land disputes.

So again I would ask what is the true agenda of these protestors and Skyler? It is not to advance the claims process because they passed on that opportunity. Any argument made forthwith now carries no weight with respect to the outstanding claims that are in front of the Federal Courts.

Stay safe,

Mayor Ken Hewitt

X
X
X