By Victoria Gray
While Brantford is booming without consultation Six Nations is fuming.
The City of Brantford is posting record breaking building permits topping $470 million last year within the Haldimand Tract despite the Haudenosaunee Chiefs Confederacy Council issuing a moratorium on development and treating Six Nations Elected Council’s (SNEC) Consultation and Accommodations Process (CAP) Team like a notification centre.
SNEC councillor Sherri-Lynn Hill Pierce said she didn’t understand how the City of Brantford can have so much development, but none of those developments are listed in the CAP Team’s monthly report at the Political Liaison Committee meeting on April 25.
“That’s concerning to me,” she said. “It looks like Six Nations is OK with this… I’m not OK with all that, so I’m not sure if, or why – maybe Brantford isn’t on here.”
Brantford issued more than 1,500 building permits in 2021 and issued 85 more building permits in the first three months of 2022 that total more than $100,000. In 2020 the city issued building permits worth $255 million.
Robin Vanstone, the CAP Team supervisor said the team has already asked for help from the council to deal with the city’s lack of engagement.
She went on to say Brantford isn’t on the CAP Team’s monthly report because they don’t engage in consultation, city staff email notices of development, but do not engage the CAP Team further.
“I totally agree with you, the City of Brantford viewing notification as consultation,” she said. “We tried to talk to them about doing consultation better. That was one of the points that I brought up when we all met as a group, we needed help with city of Brantford because they aren’t great at consultation. It’s basically non-existent. They do send notifications as per the Grand River Notifications Agreement. Consultation is very, very challenging with the City of Brantford.”
Elected Chief Mark Hill said he had a conversation with Branford mayor Kevin Davis on other issues, but believes SNEC and staff need to come together to have meeting to strategize the next move and help the CAP Team achieve it’s mandate with the city.
“We’re talking about political pieces. This work can only go so far with our CAP Team. There comes a point in time when political reps, like myself and the chief’s office have to use the clout we have. It has to be, kind of, the last string of things to really push items and push what we want basically the dissatisfaction with what they view as consultation. That’s something we definitely have to further look at, in terms of political pieces to some of these projects,” he said.
Taylor Hill, a member of the CAP Team said they scheduled a meeting with city staff to express their displeasure with the consultation process, but a few of Brantford’s staff were diagnosed with COVID-19 and the meeting was rescheduled for sometime in May.
Phil Montour, director of the Land Claims Research Office said the team can’t do this on their own.
“The CAP Team needs political backing on this to push it forward,” he said. “We can only do so much. Years ago we had litigation against Ontario and the City of Brantford on consultation and we had agreed to put it abeyance provided we come up a remedy it has sat dormant what you’re recommending we need political backing to push this forward.”
Elected Chief Mark Hill pledged to schedule another meeting with officials to let them know, what they are doing is not respectful.
“These things are moving quite quickly and it seems like, without us,” he said. “That’s not something we are in agreement with. The City of Brantford needs to know what we’re fleeing and seeing.”