A new proposed boundary between Brantford and Brant County stirs up some controversy within the Tutela Heights community.
According to Brant News, the Walton International Group plans to build about 200 new houses south of Tutela Heights road, a plan many of the residents are unhappy with.
Laurier Brantford student and Tutela Heights resident, Madeline Bury said, “well, my mom belongs to the Tutela Heights Phelps Road Residential Association,” she explains, “and there’s a really strong out cry here.”
Bury and her family received news of the boundary adjustments when a letter was sent to residents of the Tutela Heights community. The letter, signed by Brant’s MPP Dave Levac and addressed to Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, states that “moving forward and completing the new municipal boundaries will require processes and funding above and beyond the normal course of business.” The letter claims that the Council has received “tremendous positive reaction from both communities” in regards to the changes.
In response to the letter, Bury’s mother sent an email to Dave Levac claiming that she, along with the community, was “deeply angered” by the supposed celebration and claim that the community was excited about these new changes, when in reality they had not yet had an opportunity for public consultation.
Bury shared her mother’s outrage stating that this action “isn’t democracy. Small municipalities have such a small voice.”
“Public consultation ended on Thursday [January 21st], that’s only 16 days after the announcement was made … [Tutela Heights] is a done deal, or better, a very confused deal,” said Bury. “Approximately 30 people [out of 50 at the last public consultation] voiced why they ‘A’ thought Tutela Heights shouldn’t be on the table, ‘B’ believed that they should have had way more time to process this and ‘C’ don’t even want this to happen at all!”
Bury claimed the majority of her neighbors are confused more then anything and are pleading with the city for more time in order to fight these changes.
“None of us can even understand why they want Tutela Heights,” Bury said. “There’s better farmland, better everything outside of Brant County. It makes me think other interests are involved.”
In part of their ongoing protest, Tutela Heights Phelps Road Residential Association has launched the “Black Ribbon Campaign.”
“We’ve distributed black ribbons [to the residents] to represent the death of our neighborhood,” Bury explained.
Although the decision to annex seems finalized, residents of Tutela Heights and other local communities are currently fighting for a stay.
“We’re sending letters to everybody that can be accessed,” Bury said. “There’s still a strong need for legal work and democratic work to be done about this.”
*Since this interview, the City of Brantford and Country of Brant have officially announced that they will be including Tutela Heights as part of the annexation as well as expanding it.