NCC’s expropriation powers revoked in Gatineau Park?

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by Mark Burgess on October 22, 2009

Federal Transport Minister John Baird told a House of Commons committee Oct. 19 that the National Capital Commission’s expropriation powers should be repealed in order to protect the Gatineau Park’s private property owners.

Baird introduced Bill C-37, which intends to protect the park’s boundaries and environment but doesn’t grant it national park status, last spring. The bill would make Gatineau Park Canada’s only federal park – private property would be allowed and the NCC would govern the park.

On the issue of expropriation, Baird referred to “raw feelings” from half a century ago when the Greenbelt was created, saying the NCC hasn’t exercised its expropriation powers in 20 years and that they should be revoked.

Muriel How of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has said in other media that she agreed that expropriation caused lifelong bitterness but added that the bill failed to provide legal means to control development in the park. She said the NCC should have first right of refusal when private property in the park is for sale.