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  • Writer's pictureThe Low Down

Will Amos remain silent about 134 homes in Gatineau Park?

The Editor,

Over the last months, Gatineau Park has attracted wide attention from citizens,

wilderness groups and parliamentarians, which gives hope to all those who care

about its future.

In early June, Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne took part in a guided tour of the

park. On social media, she underlined her concern about the 133 houses built

there since 1992, and she raised a question on this in the Senate on June 25,

arguing that, “Parliament should act by giving Gatineau Park official status

through legislation.” The senator noted that her interest stemmed, in part, from the park’s location in the senatorial division of Inkerman, which she represents. “As a child, I skied and swam there. As a journalist, I cooled my heels at Meech Lake, while

waiting for the premiers and prime minister [during a federal-provincial

conference],” wrote the senator in a Facebook post.

Senator Miville-Dechêne has had a distinguished career as a journalist and

foreign correspondent; I think she’ll be the champion Gatineau Park needs. All

the more so because local MPs are blind to the issue, except maybe

Hull-Aylmer MP Greg Fergus, who tabled a petition from the Canadian Parks and

Wilderness Society in the House of Commons on July 20.

Besides circulating that petition, the Ottawa Valley chapter of CPAWS has been

working on park protection from various angles. For instance, on July 27

they issued a statement condemning construction of the 134th new house in the

park since 1992. “Most of the new construction is in prime wildlife habitat and

recreation areas,” said the statement. “The park’s master plan claims that

acquiring private land is a priority. Now is the time to act on that commitment.

Each tree felled and each private lot carved up by bulldozers reduces the park’s

capacity for protecting its natural environment.” Moreover, in its annual report, CPAWS called on the government to amend the National Capital Act to grant Gatineau Park “the same protections as those afforded other national parks.”

This kind of passion for the park has been evident over the last few months,

likely because people began to realize how precious it is when the NCC started

locking them out in all kinds of ways due to the pandemic. However I’m left wondering why Pontiac MP Will Amos isn’t responding to this issue, since most of the park is in his riding. Does he think that building 134 houses in the park since 1992 is a good thing?

Trevor Myles

Aylmer, QC

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