Grassroots movement Haldimand Green Peace seeks to put a stop to Orkney Street West development

Grassroots movement Haldimand Green Peace seeks to put a stop to  Orkney Street West development
CALEDONIA—A public notice sign placed back in July by Haldimand County notified local residents of a potential development. —Photo courtesy of Haldimand Green Peace.

By Mike Renzella

The Haldimand Press

CALEDONIA—A parcel of land on Orkney Street West in Caledonia, earmarked for potential residential development, has drawn frustration from a group of residents tired of the ongoing issues surrounding accelerated development in Caledonia and the resulting tensions with the Indigenous community.

“Haldimand Green Peace is a grassroots movement spurred on by the continual development in our town, ongoing land disputes, and recent historical events,” read a statement from the group issued to The Haldimand Press. “At its core, it involves local community residents who gathered together to stop the Orkney Street West future residential build.”

The group formed in June of this year in opposition to an “out-of-town builder” applying for a permit to build: “We want to stop future builds until land claims are settled, preventing further conflict with our allies and protecting our earth. Governments promote protecting the environment, but that never really happens. We need to protect the earth.”

Mike Evers, General Manager of Community and Development Services for Haldimand County, stated in response to a request for information on the development: “The owners of the property in question applied for a severance to set up their land holdings for future use. While no detailed plans have been submitted, the severance application indicates a future intended land use of residential. Other applications … would be required before any development takes place to establish the principle of land use and appropriate development plans for the site.”

The Haldimand Green Peace group asserts that the land in question “currently offsets the carbon footprint of the industrial park to the north.” The group is concerned that “removing the trees will take out a natural sound barrier” and the existing members of its ecosystem “will move from a natural habitat into our town looking for new homes.”

Other reasons the group opposes the development include what they call a lack of infrastructure to support it, the construction moratorium on the Haldimand Tract placed by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chief’s Council, and to “respect our neighbours from Six Nations as the history behind residential schools unfolds.” 

As required by Haldimand County policies, a sign was posted at the site and nearby residents were notified of the plans. The Haldimand Green Peace statement explained, “Approximately 30 people attended a planning meeting on July 20 to oppose the developers’ proposal and submitted 85 more names with a petition…. The Haldimand Planning Committee passed the application anyways.” 

The group has launched a GoFundMe, with the hopes of using the funds to pay for a series of appeals designed to delay or stop construction at the site. They are already awaiting a response to the first appeal after filing a form A-1 with Haldimand County and the Ontario Land Tribunal. They said, “This first appeal cost $400 without legal representation. We expect future appeals that will cost more.”

While the group is against further developments, they noted that they are not connected with the Land Back Lane movement that halted the McKenzie Meadows development and saw tensions rise as arrests were made and roads were torn up: “(We) are trying to prevent a similar situation like that from happening again…. If they continue to develop lands along the Haldimand Tract we will continue to live in conflict. We would like to ask all developers to stop building along the Haldimand Tract at this time.”

“We are fighting for all of Caledonia,” concluded the statement. “As a community we need to come together to stop all the building along the Haldimand Tract. It is time to work with our allies at Six Nations to keep the peace and stop the build!”

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