The dispute over a 18th century farm in Trenton
85-year-old Frank Meyers is rooted in rural life -- for decades he's been running the farm in Trenton that's been in his family for more than 2 centuries. But that family legacy is coming to an end; in November, after seven years of negotiation with the Department of National Defence, Meyers signed over more than 200 acres for a new headquarters for Canada Special Forces Command.
Meyers says, however, that he has pressured into signing. And now, he has supporters at his farm blocking construction and demolition equipment from DND. Frank joined us on the phone to explain what happened.
During the interview, we received this response from Captain Christopher Daniel at DND:
I would like to address your query about CFB Trenton's northern property.
Expropriations are not the Government of Canada's preferred course of action and this measure was only undertaken as a last resort after lengthy negotiations reached an impasse.
The Department of National Defence has gradually established a presence in the portion of the property that has been expropriated while remaining respectful and non-confrontational with Mr. Meyers. The men and women of our department remain sensitive to Mr Meyer's concerns and we have provided him ample time to remove his equipment and livestock -- as well as harvest his crops -- before putting up signage and securing the portion of the area in question.
As background, on May 29, 2012, Mr. Meyers received from Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) the Notice of Possession under Section 19 of The Federal Expropriation Act, which means that the expropriation of the property was effective starting that date. Mr Meyers has received an offer of compensation for his interests.
8 Wing CFB Trenton/CFB Trenton conducted a physical possession of the expropriated property, on August 29, 2012. The Wing gradually undertook this activity while remaining respectful of Mr. Meyers.
The inspection of the property involved taking a photographic record of the property's condition upon possession; an initial inventory of livestock, materials and buildings on-site; and an assessment of the materials and manpower needed for the installation of signage and fence.
Following the inspection of the property, Mr. Meyers had requested for an extension in order to find a suitable place for his livestock and to harvest his crops; this request was granted.
In February 2013, Mr. Meyers provided the Government of Canada a schedule for removal of his equipment and animals from the property. At that time a license agreement was entered into between the DND as the landlord and Mr. Meyers as tenant for the use of the land until September 30, 2013.
In August 2013, Mr. Meyers requested the Government of Canada to extend his license agreement; the request was not granted because the initial work for construction could not be delayed any longer.
On September 12, 2013 Mr. Meyers made a further request to gain access to the property following the October 1st deadline in order to harvest the crops he planted in summer 2013; his request was accepted.
Because Mr. Meyers will remain in his residence, he therefore remains to be our neighbour and we continue to be respectful to him and his family.