Link to Original Story

No resolution to Douglas Creek Estates five years later

Six Nations Chief wants land ownership dispute resolved through discussions with Mayor Hewitt

Natalie Clewley, The Sachem
Published on Feb 22, 2011

February 28, 2011 marks the fifth anniversary of the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) land ownership dispute.
Chief of the Six Nations Council William Montour wants to see the dispute resolved. “Nothing has changed five years later and that concerns me,” he said.
Montour commented that currently no steps are being taken by the Six Nations of the Grand River council to resolve the land dispute.
“Every time our people drive by they are seeing that they have been duped by (government) leadership,” he said.
“What happened is very unfortunate. We always had a strong relationship with Haldimand County; it is sad to see this has (put) a strain on our relationship.”
Chief Montour said the DCE, sitting at the edge of Caledonia, currently stands as a piece of vacant land that needs to be fixed up.
“I am developing a relationship with the new mayor to move forward. Hopefully through discussions it can benefit both communities. There needs to be a mutual agreement between Haldimand and Six Nations.”

Idling cars will be replaced by video surveillance
The security car that has been idling 24 hours a day at the hydro lines on Argyle Street South near the DCE property is being replaced by video surveillance.
“There hasn’t been any activity at the site for over four years; we don’t want the community to be an armed camp and it is an eye sore for the community,” said Suzanne Athanasiou, president of the Caledonia Regional Chamber of Commerce.
 “In response to a previous letter sent by the Caledonia Regional Chamber of Commerce,  Hydro One stated that in the spring of 2011, video surveillance will be installed and the idling cars will be removed,” adding, “this will not compromise the safety in our community.”
The Caledonia Regional Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Laura Formusa, president and CEO of Hydro One, concerning the need for a manned security car in Caledonia at the hydro lines near the DCE.  
“The Chamber is very happy with the outcome, ultimately; we wanted no vehicle idling at the location and achieved what we wanted,” said Athanasiou, adding, “Someone is paying- either hydro customers or Hydro One- to have the vehicle there 24 hours a day. It is a huge amount of money.”
During the afternoon of May 22, 2006, a fire at the Hydro One substation caused a major power outage throughout Haldimand.
The fire started when vandals placed a burning truck in the substation, damaging two transformers.
After Hydro One crews worked throughout many nights, the power was restored to all areas by May 27, 2006.
Hydro One officials estimated the costs of repairing the damage at $1.5 million.

Class action lawsuit at disclosure stage
On June 12, 2006, a class action proceeding  was filed on behalf of business and property owners in Caledonia who suffered financial losses as a result of the closure of Argyle Street from April 20, 2006 until May 24, 2006.
Lawyer for the plaintiffs, John W. Findlay, said the case is at the disclosure stage.
“We are trying to get a handle on the damages each class has sustained and are trying to compile an assessment for the appropriate amount to settle,” he said.
“No court date has been set for the near future; maybe in a year the case will go to trial.”
The closure of the Highway 6 bypass and Argyle Street south from April 20, 2006 until June 14, 2006 is thought to have resulted in diminished sales revenue for some businesses in Caledonia.
Caledonia real estate
market doing well
It started with 10 homebuyers signing agreements to purchase homes to be built on the DCE subdivision.
Those 10 homebuyers never saw their homes built; on February 28, 2006, Natives occupied the DCE construction site.
Five years later, according to the Ann Forbes Arndt, president of the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB), the Caledonia real estate market seems to be holding up well.
“Sales in Caledonia have been doing quite well. There has been a 12 per cent increase in 2010,” said Arndt.
“Over the last five years, prices have been consistent.”
Arndt said at the end of 2006, there was 12 per cent fewer sales than 2005, but the average sale price increased by 1.5 per cent.
“Caledonia has done quite well. The average sale price is currently $267,884.”
“Caledonia offers a good variety; there are lower-priced homes and higher-priced homes, with plenty of choice, (on) styles and location.”