NCC ‘baffled’ by Gatineau Park activist’s latest attack

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by admin on March 24, 2010

The Editor,

Open Letter to Gatineau Park Protection Committee

Jean-Paul Murray, Co-Chair

It is unfortunate that the Gatineau Park Protection Committee is still not satisfied with our latest efforts to protect the park (re: Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan).

The Committee continues to perpetuate the idea that the NCC has allowed 119 houses, five new roads, a major grocery chain, gas station and a donut shop to be built within the park since 1992.

As we have attempted to communicate on various occasions, the boundary rationalization exercise in 1997 includes the acquisition of Meech Creek Valley and excludes some parcels that were within the 1960 perimeter. However, overall the 1997 boundary is 700 hectares greater than the 1960 perimeter. Neither the grocery store, nor the donut shop often mentioned by the Gatineau Park Protection Committee was ever in Gatineau Park — not within the 1960 perimeter and not within the 1997 boundary.

The Committee is also concerned with residential development in the park and so is the

NCC. However, the Committee suggests that the NCC has jurisdiction on private properties located within park limits, which we do not have. We have chosen to focus our efforts on acquiring as much as possible of the developable land because, once we own the land, we control and manage it. Since the adoption of our renewed approach for land acquisition in Gatineau Park, in January 2008, the NCC has acquired 25 more properties representing an additional 150 hectares. With this the NCC has potentially prevented the construction of more than 150 houses in the Park. Today 99 per cent of the land in the Gatineau Park is publicly owned.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind the Committee of several recent NCC initiatives.

ï‚· We are currently implementing the 2005 Gatineau Park Master Plan, from which came our Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan and will come our Green

Transportation Plan for Gatineau Park, Gatineau Park Recreation Plan and Gatineau Park Heritage Preservation Plan.

ï‚· Gatineau Park boundaries were clearly identified in1997 and in 2008, our Board passed a motion to reconfirm these boundaries, further emphasizing the NCC’s desire to protect this natural space.

ï‚· There is ongoing, open dialogue and collaboration between the staff of the NCC and groups that share our interest for the park. In the past year more than 20 meetings have taken place with these groups. I personally meet at least twice a year with the Gatineau Park Conservation Coalition.

ï‚· With respect to the Committee’s concerns about Meech Lake shore, in the Fall

2009, the NCC began work to rehabilitate the shoreline on NCC lands. As for the privately owned lands along Meech Lake, they fall outside of the jurisdiction of the NCC but we intend to call upon residents to help in the restoration of the shores.

Where we find some common ground with the Committee is a desire to protect Gatineau Park. We are therefore baffled by the Committee’s criticism of our latest effort, the Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan, for which we collaborated with local environmental groups, the scientific community and experts, and whose very goal is to protect the park.

Marie Lemay, P.Eng., ing.

Chief Executive Officer