OPP reopen Highway 6 at Six Nations
Hamilton Spectator, September 5, 2017
Ontario Provincial Police say Highway 6 in Caledonia has reopened after protesters relocated a blockade to the area on Labour Day.
The OPP and other worked with other agencies including the Ministry of Transportation to remove debris strewn across the road to open the highway just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The Indigenous protest barricade in Caledonia had been moved from Argyle Street to the Hwy. 6 overpass Monday afternoon.
Const. Rod LeClair said police responded to the bypass, between Greens Road and Argyle Street, Monday night because there was debris, including tires and trees, blocking the road. A “group was gathering,” he added.
“Once we responded, they eventually dispersed … on their own.”
LeClair said police asked the protesters to leave but no arrests were made and no one was injured. He would not say how many officers responded to the site and if other police services were involved.
LeClair said Tuesday he hadn’t been told if demonstrators were still occupying the area.
“We’re remaining in the area just to preserve the peace like we’ve said from the onset, just maintain public safety,” he said. “We’re going to remain in the area (and) see how things go.”
The gates to the former Douglas Creek Estates, where the original blockade was erected on Aug. 10, were locked Tuesday morning.
There was a group of 20 people inside and several vehicles. Two police vehicles were parked across the street from the site.
Haldimand County Coun. Craig Grice said it took a monumental effort to bring the barricade down. Grice commended those from Six Nations who helped to make it happen.
“I think people are happy the barricades are down. I know a lot of people recognize that a lot of effort went into it, not only from the Caledonia side, but from the Six Nations side as well,” Grice said.
“Without the support to get this barricade down from within Six Nations, does this happen today? I think it goes to prove that this is a small group and that people were trying to resolve the issue, which is internal.”
Before to the blockade, the “prosperity, friendships and commerce in both communities were doing really well,” he said. “I hope this doesn’t put it back.”
To help businesses in Caledonia, Grice said council has sent a letter to the provincial government seeking compensation for losses.
“The county has already sent off a letter to the province stating that we want reimbursement for those businesses as they prove their losses for that period of time,” he said. “The county is going to try and help facilitate that any way we possible can.”