Caledonia Citizens Alliance

October 02, 2007 10:53 ET

Alliance Estimates $290 Million Price Tag on Caledonia

CALEDONIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 2, 2007) - While tensions continue to mount in the 579 day-old land dispute in Caledonia so do the rising costs. The Caledonia Citizens Alliance estimates that close to $290 million tax dollars have been spent on this ongoing battle and occupation with no end in sight. These costs include: the purchase of the Douglas Creek Estates along with related expenses, $22.7 million; costs to assist businesses, the local municipality and residents $2.1 million, provincial staffing including wages for David Peterson and Jane Stewart, $3.3 million; policing, $145 million; and, all associated Hydro One costs such as replacement of the incomplete transmission line, $116 million.

"We are concerned that the Premier has been hiding many of the associated costs of this dispute from the Ontario taxpayers," says Ken Hewitt, spokesperson for the Alliance. "McGuinty's accounting fails to take into consideration the astronomical OPP and Hydro costs that are a direct result of this crisis in Caledonia," continued Mr. Hewitt.

The Ontario Government has not yet released what it calls "other ongoing costs" and claims they are yet to be determined. Frank Stoneman, a local business owner and volunteer with the Alliance expressed his concerns, "This lack of information and accountability from the Provincial Government disturbs me. $290 million is $30 million more than the budget for the Ministry of the Environment in 2006. It's a great deal of our hard-earned money."

The land dispute began on February 28, 2006 over the Douglas Creek Estates property, a 40 hectare parcel of land that was being developed into homes. The Province of Ontario bought the land from the local developer and has been negotiating with the natives for the last nineteen months. Six Nations natives continue to occupy the site which boarders on a local subdivision and elementary school.

The Alliance expects Mr. McGuinty to come clean to the taxpayers with regard to the actual costs related to the situation in Caledonia.

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