May 11, 2010
UPDATE # 4 – COOLEY / HATT CEMETERY
Ontario Municipal Board [ OMB ] Prehearing Conference:
The City of Hamilton presented a motion to adjourn this prehearing conference until all issues associated with the Cemetery are completed. There has been NO site disposition agreement signed with the family representatives and therefore nothing is completed in regards to procedures in the Cemeteries ACT
Points of discussion:
· The status quo must be maintained until a disposition agreement and/or arbitration ruling settles the Cemetery Issue – the applicant cannot disturb this site until this is complete
· The applicant needs to forward a plan of subdivision to the City which would include this agreement before draft plan approval by Council
· Without the disposition agreement, the City is unsure what lands would be used for development
· The Cemeteries Act does not bow to the Planning Act
· The City cannot follow any normal flow when a Pioneer Cemetery has been discovered, containing more than 100 graves – the largest unapproved Cemetery in Ontario & perhaps Canada. It is of important Historical and Cultural significance
The Applicant stated that they had no knowledge of the Cemetery 6 years ago and since has followed all the rules and that nothing will be disturbed until a disposition agreement is completed. [… in actual fact, the applicant would have known about this Cemetery – I have been involved since 1998 with the, then, Town of Ancaster and attended meetings discussing the Cemetery]. In any case, the applicant stated that any further delays would only be further frustration without any good sound planning causes.
The Board Chairman took only 1 hour to make his decision. The motion from the City of Hamilton was denied, mainly based on the Archaeologists Report:
· move graves from the septic area [….again in actual fact, terment took place before any septic beds were laid and indeed, the applicant has already desecrated these graves ]
· that there were some dubious graves
· that the Cemetery would be resolved through binding arbitration in any case
· it is an unapproved Cemetery
· no need for further delays
The City of Hamilton was very surprised by the Chair denial of the motion
All issues now, will be decided by the OMB [..by all accounts, pro development]
The dates of hearing will be from October 18 thru to the end of November 2010.
We will need to be very diligent and ensure that we lobby our MPP’s and other government officials to have any opportunity in preventing the developers from piling bones of our ancestors in a corner to make room for a road. All Party’s agree that this Cemetery find is important and of significant historical and cultural meaning, but;
……..there is an opportunity to make lots of money and money is talking and can buy high priced lawyers, planners
We have nothing but praise for the City of Hamilton and its Lawyers, Planners and City Council. They have tried to do the right thing and protect this asset for future generations and they have committed to keep trying to do so.
We DO NEED to keep a high profile