Protesters remain at housing development site in Caledonia
KITCHENER -- Protesters and police remained at a housing development site in Caledonia on Friday afternoon.
There have been blockades and a heavy police presence in place for the past three days, but protesters first set up 20 days ago at McKenzie Meadows. Wednesday, the OPP moved in to enforce a court order and arrested nine protesters at the construction site. OPP said the injunction was presented to people at the site last Friday.
"It's a scary thing when 100 OPP tactical unit cops come descending on people," protester Skylar Williams said.
The OPP said protesters started throwing large rocks at police and hit several officers. Police said they shot a rubber bullet at the camp, adding no one was injured.
"We had no intention in started anything like that, until that violence was brought to us," Williams said.
The protesters were released and returned to the housing development. Argyle Street is still blocked by the OPP.
"We took back the land," Williams said.
The current protest is near the site of a previous land dispute. In 2006, protesters stopped a development at Douglas Creek Estates. They're hoping for the same result at McKenzie Meadows, which is right across the road.
"It's not McKenzie Road anymore, it's Land Back Lane," Williams said.
The protest has halted construction on the housing development planned for the area.
"When our borders are infringed upon, our people need to stand up for that," Williams said.
According to Haldimond County, the land historically belonged to the Indigenous community. It was purchased by Foxgate Developments in 2015. In 2019, Foxgate and the Six Nations elected council reached an agreement confirming that Six Nations supported the development.
"For prime real estate in Caledonia here to be given away like that is a slap in the face to our people," Williams said.
A Caledonia resident said he'd like to see the land dispute end.
"The land was surrendered," David Faux said. "It was surrendered in council in front of all the chiefs at the time. It doesn't get more official than that."
Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt said he doesn't support the protest.
"Holding the developer back and those excited new homeowners from realizing their dream is nonsense," a statement from Hewitt said in part.
The protesters said they plan to remain at the site, and the OPP said they will remain there too.
Haldimand County said another court injunction was approved by a judge on Friday morning, which would force protesters to vacate all roadblocks and remove anything from the road. It would also prevent any more blockades in the county.
The OPP said it's up to the court sheriff to determine when and how to deliver the injunction.
CTV News Kitchener reached out to Six Nations for comment, but didn't hear back before 5 p.m.