Kingston developer meets resistance at Deseronto site

Posted by admin on Oct 17th, 2007

W. Brice McVicar The Intelligencer

DESERONTO — A Kingston-area developer whose actions have launched numerous protests in the Deseronto area returned to his land Thursday to forge ahead with his $35-million plan. And once again Tim Letch, president of Intergroup Financing AG, was met with opposition from native protesters. Letch said it was not long after he and a handful of his workers arrived on the site to do some soil testing that “a band of brothers came out of the woods” informing them the land belonged to them.

“I would say we co-operated,” said Letch, who announced his intentions on radio early Thursay. “We didn’t permit it to escalate whereas these guys wanted to escalate it.”

Letch met with police and the town’s building inspector at the scene but later left to reconvene their discussions at the town hall, he said.

Native activist Shawn Brant, who is on strict bail conditions to avoid protests, said he and his wife watched the confrontation from further up the road. A target of much criticism himself, Brant said recent protests, blockades and more in the area can be linked back to Letch.

“For the past 11 months everything that’s arisen with respect to the quarry, road blockages, rail blockages and every thing have all been a result of Tim Letch,” he said.

One year ago, Letch announced plans to build on a waterfront portion of land on the east side of Deseronto but the announcement was met with protests from a group claiming they represent the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

In the weeks following the announcement, the protesters staged blockades claiming the land is part of what is known as the Culbertson Tract, a 925-acre parcel starting at the Bay of Quinte and stretching north.

Despite the outstanding claim, Letch said he intends to push ahead with his multi-million dollar plan though he feels the town will “throw up any new roadblocks they can” to slow his process.

“It’s my property. I’ve got to move on it sometime,” he said adding he has already lost $500,000 due to the project. “If I had a choice, if someone was willing to pay off the losses and take the property I’d be happy.”

Brant said the Town of Deseronto and the residents of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory are tired of responding to “crisis situations” which have been instigated by Letch’s actions.

“We’re not going to let this man divide the community. It’s not right that someone comes in who isn’t from Deseronto, who doesn’t live in our community and creates a crisis. It has to stop. I don’t know if appealing to him will help but we’re going to make it stop.”

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