Pellerin: Healthy Ottawa – Protecting nature, use it or lose it

By Brigitte Pellerin, Ottawa Citizen, August 12, 2019

If you lived in Montreal or Toronto and wanted to escape the city to somewhere wild and quiet, you would first have to sit for a frustratingly long spell in heavy traffic. Reaching the Muskokas on a Saturday morning is not an experience I wish to repeat.

We in Ottawa-Gatineau are very fortunate. We have so much nature to enjoy. Gatineau Park is probably the jewel in our collective green crown, but there are countless parks, trails, multi-use pathways, off-leash dog parks and forests to explore. And that’s not counting rivers and lakes where we can kayak, swim or just goof off on the beach with the kids. We don’t have to drive far to enjoy nature.

“Access to green spaces and public parks,” says Ecology Ottawa’s Vi Bui, “is a key indicator of a healthy and vibrant community.” On that scale, we’re doing pretty well.

Access to recreational water is just as important. Pools and splash pads are neat, but nothing beats natural water for maximum health benefits.

So here’s something for Ottawa to work on: more access for the public to the Ottawa River. Meredith Brown, Riverkeeper Emerita, certainly endorses that.

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