Comment - The monster the province created

by Bill Jackson - The Regional

January 20, 2010

No matter what the province does to minimize problems in Caledonia, it's in a damned if it does, damned if it doesn't situation these days as the monster it created continues to fester.

Last Friday the Brown/Chatwell house off Argyle Street South was torn down by demolition crews quelling any questions as to whether it would become the newest tobacco enterprise in town.

According to a spokesperson with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the province took possession of the former Chatwell-Brown residence on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The following day, "After a review, the house will be demolished for safety and security reasons," according to a statement.

Safety and security?

According to one report online, the demolition crew posted signs warning of asbestos however no workers were wearing any kind of respiratory protection.

Like the recent settlement reached with Brown and Chatwell that relocated them within town, some people tend to applaud the measure at first glance. But upon further review we're reminded of the blatant negligence of the province for the whole debacle and realize that the government is a victim of its own failures that stem from the ownership of an illegal native occupation and two-tiered policing policies.

The demolition of the Brown/Chatwell home is another pitiful attempt at damage control.

On the surface, you see a home being torn down due to issues it could present in the future, but on another level, many people - some of whom drove to the site to watch the home be destroyed - seemed awestruck by the ongoing waste and incompetence.

Ironically, we had a story submitted to our paper last week regarding a home building project in

Dunnville that has been put off for now after hundreds of volunteers and students stepped forth to help a low income family under the Habitat for Humanity program.

The province seems to think that it's okay to destroy a perfectly good house that should be worth approximately $400,000. To have demolition crews on site the day after it took over the property certainly says something about the trust of those occupying the Douglas Creek Estates property and its lack of control over Caledonia issues.

It also begs the longstanding questions as to what will happen to the property in the future.

That's a touchy subject, but until it's broached the ongoing issues surrounding the property will continue for everyone involved.

In 2010, all sides need to come together and discuss what the future means. The DCE site isn't included among Six Nations claims at the main negotiation table with the federal government. It is not viewed as a valid claim by the federal government.

Meanwhile, the province owns the land that is occupied by activists who have done nothing to maintain or improve the property for the benefit of any community.

The land continues to be an eyesore and a blight on the communities of Caledonia and Six Nations.

Eventually you'd think better heads on all sides would agree that meaningful discussions must take place to resolve what MPP Toby Barrett calls the "burr under the saddle" here in Haldimand.

The public deserves open forum on the issue led by the parties who are responsible for the stalemate that's almost four years old.