J.P. Murray, get off your attacking high horse


by admin on February 3, 2010

The Editor,

Re: “Gatineau Park not a Public space” (Jan. 27, Valley Voice)

If my children were inclined to read Low Down letters to the editor, they might ask some disturbing questions about J.P Murray’s musings last week about NCC malfeasance, incompetence and alleged corruption. They might also ask me – as a private business operating within the Gatineau Park – if we are rapacious developers usurping the public interest by capitalizing on “bureaucratic anarchy” as Mr. Murray implies.

In response, I would probably bore my children with a long-winded treatise ranging from the dangers of making unsupported public allegations of misconduct, to the inadvisability of being unrelentingly pious in the absence of true accountability.

In short, I would tell them that Mr. Murray crossed the line of fair and balanced comment.

Mr. Murray, you do not advance your stewardship cause by positioning yourself as the only person who cares about this public trust we call the Gatineau Park. While my encounters with NCC personnel over the past 12 years have occasionally left me frustrated, bemused, and at times, downright annoyed – I have never come away with the impressions expressed by you last week.

While I occasionally differ with NCC park personnel over issues affecting our business and our community – I believe that the public interest is generally well-served by their administration. At the individual level, I often find myself truly impressed by the level of personal commitment NCC staff take in their responsibilities.

Second, and probably of more interest to my sons, is your repeated inferences that private sector risk-taking and investment in the park is akin to “private clubs of old…gated communities…and private playgrounds”, where “territorial integrity is being mercilessly undermined”.

Left unanswered, my sons might conclude that their parents ought to first repent their sins, and then change professions …that the Wakefield Mill be returned to its former state of decay, that 65 people be added to Canada’s unemployed, and that the local folks who drop in for a visit, do so elsewhere.

That won’t happen.

Mr. Murray, I would probably recall for my children the fortunate time I had growing up in remote northwestern Ontario. My playground was limitless forest and lake country – but no parkland in sight – where I was lucky enough to be brought up with values I intend to pass on.

I was taught that wisdom was the lightest load to carry over a portage – with wisdom defined as appreciating how much I didn’t know. Second, don’t waste – I was never to shoot what I would not eat. Finally, respect nature – always leave a campsite in better shape than I found it.

I believe sir, that those values are shared by many in our community, in your neighborhood, and by those officials entrusted to preserve the Gatineau Park for my children’s children. They are certainly the values we respect in our company.

There are many valid views on the future of the Gatineau Park and yours is but one. Is the park perfect? No. Can it be improved? Absolutely.

I would suggest however, that respect for others views, and an appreciation of our collective good will, can achieve true stewardship and accountability — and in the process leave a cleaner campsite than we inherited.

Robert Milling


Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa

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Rebuttal to GPPC « Gatineau Park News
03.04.10 at 11:08 am

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