A small group of protesters from Six Nations gathered at the First Gulf property at Wayne Gretzky Parkway and Henry Street on Friday to show their opposition to development taking place on the site.
Four people saying they are supporters of Six Nations Confederacy council attended the property. The site is slated for the development of a Harvey’s restaurant and Leon’s Furniture Store, among other projects.
City police were on the scene monitoring activity.
Six Nations resident Ruby Montour said the property belongs to Six Nations.
“We have had a confrontation at First Gulf before,” Montour said. “These developers need to be informed by the city that this is Six Nations’ land.
“The way we feel about it is different than how the city feels. It is still an empty field and it will stay that way until they talk to us.”
Montour said the land was sold without the permission, knowledge or consent of Six Nations.
But Brantford Mayor Chris Friel said such actions “hurt everybody” and steps have been taken by the city to “extend its hand” to both Six Nations elected band council and Confederacy council.
“We have been more than willing to try and find benefits for all,” Friel said. “It is unfortunate that there is a handful of individuals (that take this action).”
Friel said the city has received “positive responses” from both Six Nations councils.
“Even now, we are in the midst of organizing meetings so we can come to an understanding on how to proceed,” Friel said. “People on Six Nations, in Brantford and the County of Brant hurt when our development stops.”
Six Nations resident Floyd Montour said if First Gulf wants to proceed with the development it needs to talk to Six Nations.
“If they give us royalties up front from each one of the entities, they can go ahead,” Floyd said. “It is our land and we have a right to demand the royalties.
“The city doesn’t care about us. No more will we be walked on.”
Six Nations resident Wes Elliott said an Ontario Municipal Board agreement signed six years ago has not led to consultation with Six Nations.
“They are supposed to be consulting the Confederacy council and they are not,” Elliott said. “That is why it has been vacant for six years.”
The First Gulf property is included in the city’s injunction against land claims protests at development sites.