• The Low Down

The business of Gatineau Park

The Editor,


Trevor Myles is saying that people who own land that is surrounded by Gatineau Park shouldn't be allowed to build a house and/or should be expropriated (“Gatineau Park being ‘hacked to pieces’ by development,’” March 16 edition). He obviously hasn't done much research. He mentions Kingsmere and Meech Lake as examples. None of the land that houses are being built on is owned by the park and has been privately owned much longer than the park has even existed.


What has happened, over the years, is that the park has surrounded private property by both purchasing and expropriating, therefore expanding their so-called border. Now, they no longer expropriate, but are free to acquire any property that goes up for sale and add it to the park. To say that people shouldn't be given permits to build a house is an outrage.


The number of privately owned lands and residences has significantly decreased over the years, not increased. Nothing is being "hacked to pieces."


I could take it one step further and complain about the traffic on both Meech Lake and Kingsmere Road by people accessing the park. Last summer, I counted 580 cars per hour on the narrow, winding Kingsmere Road and that was a typical day. This road is maintained by the municipality, and the park (NCC) doesn't pay their fair share of taxes, while they charge people to go skiing, swimming, camping, and to park their car. I will propose that the municipality should close the roads leading to the park for visitors or charge a fee. Give the resident taxpayers a pass.


I guess the prime minister should vacate his elaborate residence on Lac Mousseau (Harrington Lake) and also the Speaker of the House of Commons’ residence in Kingsmere. Good-bye to the restaurant at Mackenzie King estate? What about Camp Fortune — should they be thrown out? No more camping at Lac Philippe and Lac La Pêche, etc.


The park is now running a business. It's not a nature reserve anymore. Why pick on peaceful people who want to build a house on their privately owned land.


Gerry Quipp

Chelsea, QC