News

Kearns disintegrator emitting toxic chemicals, report says

A controversial landfill site “disintegrator” was emitting dioxins and furans, well-known cancer-causing carcinogens, into the air at Six Nations at levels twice the recommended Ontario Ministry of Environment limits.

Results of a study undertaken by an engineering company, after community protests, were released at band council’s Committee of the Whole meeting Monday.

The study, conducted by RWDI Engineers and Scientists, looked at emissions from the Kearns disintegrator unit that had been operating at the Six Nations land fill site for five months from January to May of 2014.

The  three-day testing in November revealed the “prototype” machine's smokestack contained dioxins and furans at levels two times higher than the stipulated acceptable limits by the MOE.

"Dioxins and furans were quite a bit higher than the limit," RWDI engineer Kirk Easto told council. "There is an issue with dioxins and furans which we kind of suspected given such a high number in the stack."

Dioxins and furans are toxic chemicals that are well-known cancer causing carcinogens, according to Health Canada.

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New Credit says Six Nations Band Council can’t veto addition to reserve

Chief Bryan LaForme and Elected Chief Ava HillChief Bryan LaForme and Elected Chief Ava Hill
Chief Bryan LaForme and Elected Chief Ava Hill

A move by the Mississauguas of New Credit to add a 42.8 acre parcel of land along Highway 6 to their reserve has awaken an age old dispute between New Credit and Six Nations over who holds title to the New Credit reserve and lands along Hwy 6.

New Credit, as part of its settlement of its interest in the city of Toronto bought the acreage along Highway 6 and is asking the federal government to give it reserve status.

But last week Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill sent out a missive to media saying her council was prepared to take all legal means possible to stop the move.

New Credit Chief Byran LaForme countered with his own statement Monday saying Six Nations has no right to veto their expansion plans.

In a statement the Six Nations Elected Council said it “is prepared to use all legal means available to prevent the Federal Government from declaring the land as part of New Credit until the express consent of Six Nations is first obtained.”

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Six Nations voters say no to band alcohol regulations, brewery

Brennan Green-Bird, Katie Rainey, Sawehate Bomberry and Tristan Green Bird held up a sign saying “My future does not include alcohol” for voters to read as they entered the community hall Saturday. (Photo by Jim C Powless)
Brennan Green-Bird, Katie Rainey, Sawehate Bomberry and Tristan Green Bird held up a sign saying “My future does not include alcohol” for voters to read as they entered the community hall Saturday. (Photo by Jim C Powless)

In an overwhelming majority, the community has voted no to Six Nations Band Council’s contentious plan to establish alcohol regulations on the territory.

Over 550 people voted in a referendum Saturday asking the community if it wanted to see alcohol regulations established here.

The overwhelming majority - 235 people - said no to any attempt by the band to institute either permissive or restrictive alcohol regulations here.

When Six Nations Community Planner Amy Lickers announced the results of the vote just after 7 p.m. Saturday at the Community Hall, people cheered and expressed relief that there would be no band-led alcohol regulations on the territory.

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Haldimand County says it doesn’t have to consult with Six Nations

A lawyer for Haldimand County said it doesn’t have to consult with Six Nations on the massive McClung Road housing development in Caledonia.

Sara Premi, a county lawyer, made the comment at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing in Cayuga last week, where Caledonia man Ron Hubert was appealing the development by Empire Communities, which is slated to consist of over 3,500 homes, commercial space, a school, recreation facilities, parks and hiking trails.

The company and the county have refused to consult with either Six Nations Elected Council or the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.

Premi said the county only has to notify Six Nations band council of the project through the Grand River Notification Agreement, which Six Nations first signed in 1996 but has not since renewed.

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New Credit loses a brave little girl in Makayla Sault

Troy Greene
Makayla Sault

An 11-year-old girl from the New Credit First Nation who made headlines last year for refusing chemotherapy to treat her leukemia has passed.

Makayla Sault suffered a stroke on Sunday that she couldn’t recover from, said her parents, Ken and Sonya Sault in a statement to the media. She died at 1:50 p.m. Monday.

“Surrounded by the love and support of her family, her community and her nation…Makayla completed her course,” reads the family’s statement. “She is now safely in the arms of Jesus.”

Condolences were pouring in from around the world including from Six Nations.

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Opinion

Lynda Powless, Editor

Referendum loss one of several missteps

Six Nations Band council has suffered yet another blow.

This past Saturday the majority of people who vote made it clear they do not want the band council regulating any sales, distribution or manufacturing of alcohol here and voted with a resounding no to stop the regulations that would have allowed a brewery to be built here.

Add to that the revelation Monday that the controversial landfill site disintegrator has actually been operating with a flawed system and spewing toxins into the air that local residents breathe and you have a recipe for disaster.

Six Nations community members fought band council on its much treasured solution to the landfill site garbage, the “disintegrator,” protesting, shutting down the plant, demanding what any other citizenry anywhere in the world demands; proof the system is safe.

Band council finally agreed to hire a company to evaluate the unit that has cost this community over a half a million dollars just to park the prototype at the landfill site and another $5 million when the machine proves itself and a full fledged unit could be built.

Sadly the band council had to be pressured into doing what was right...bringing in experts to look at a unit that has not been approved for installation anywhere else.

And the results. What the people feared.

Experts told band council the unit has been spewing toxins into the air!

Toxins! At rates considerably higher than what the Ministry of the Environment allows.

And still, upon hearing the report results, band council‘s plan was to simply send the report to its ad hoc committee for a recommendation.

The only outrage over the situation, and one would expect all of the councillors to be outraged on behalf of their citizenry, came from councillor Helen Miller who refused to allow band council to just sweep the report off to a committee for a recommendation and demanded the report go to a community meeting.

But one thing is becoming increasingly clear.

It took the community of Six Nations to force the band into doing what was right. Getting an independent report on what was being released into the air.

Just as it took the alcohol vote on the weekend and the notice from Confederacy Chiefs to make it clear a brewery was bringing danger into the community, band council should have known better and hiding behind the claims that they wanted to give the community a voice was a misnomer. This was not about communicating. It was about money needed by the band to operate its administration.

The community made it clear they were not in favour of the band council regulating alcohol. The Confederacy made it clear. A group of people calling themselves the silent majority made it clear.

Despite community concerns the band still tried to shift the public’s perception by taking the brewery off the ballot and leaving only voting on regulations.

And the community made it clear it had concerns about the disintegrator unit and, fearing they were not being heard, shut down the unit until testing was done.

And the testing proved the community was right to be concerned.

Six Nations owes a big Nia:weh to all these people in the community who come out to ensure the community’s safety by being proactive. By questioning. By keeping their leaders in check.

But where does band council go from here.

The council, under the leadership of elected Chief Ava Hill suffered a major blow with the loss of the vote on the weekend, a blow that could be seen as a non-confidence vote in Hill’s leadership.

Followed closely by the revelation the landfill site disintegrator prototype was spewing toxins into the air has left a lagging question whether Hill has the ear of the community.

Without question Hill’s experience working as executive assistants has proven she is a good behind the scenes worker...but that doesn’t make one a leader and lately, it’s a question a lot of people are asking.

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