CPAWS condemns La Peche decision on Eco Echo

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by admin on March 31, 2011

The Editor,
The Ottawa Valley Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-OV) condemns the decision by the municipal council of La Peche to proceed with plans to avail itself of the Eco Echo property in Wakefield, Quebec by not supporting a motion to place a five-year moratorium on developing the site.

Like many residents of the region, we understand the municipality’s desire to diversify the local economy by providing accessible space for businesses to establish themselves and grow. However, we disagree with the location chosen by the municipality for this project.

Not only is the property in question one of the last tracts of open agricultural land remaining between Gatineau and La Peche, it also provides a vital link for plant and animal species to migrate between Gatineau Park and the Gatineau River.

The presence of an industrial park in what were pastoral farm fields is incompatible with, and detrimental to, efforts to promote the Wakefield area as a major tourist destination. Simply put, one does not place an industrial park on the doorstep of one of the National Capital Region’s most picturesque villages!

We are equally disappointed with the National Capital Commission (NCC) for failing to acquire this property, which was generously offered to the NCC in 2010 to establish an ecological corridor between the park and the Gatineau River.

Not only will the park’s ecological integrity be compromised by the four-lane extension of Hwy 5 running along the park boundary, but also by light, noise and other forms of pollution emanating from this new industrial park.

The NCC had the opportunity to play a key role in regional planning by accepting these lands and by refusing to allow the municipality to develop the property, yet the NCC was unable to do its job and stand up to the municipality. Thus, the ecological integrity of Gatineau Park loses out once again. A failing of monumental proportions that will negatively impact generations to come.
John McDonnell

Buckingham, Quebec

 

Ed. note: The writer is the executive-director of the Ottawa Valley Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.