By Nikita Lopoukhine, Ottawa Citizen Letter to the Editor, September 19, 2020
The National Capital Commission (NCC) recently released its 2020 draft of the Gatineau Park Master Plan. Buried towards the end of the draft plan is a presentation of the advantages and the need for modernizing the park’s legal framework.
This may surprise readers who think Gatineau Park is a “real park” under a federal act. Sadly, Gatineau Park’s boundaries are currently not legislated, and as such lands can be sold, traded without parliamentary approval and houses are still being constructed on the remaining private land within the park. As the draft plan points out, legislation would firm up the park’s conservation mission and its protection, modernize pricing of activities, establish regulations and assign powers of protection.
Gatineau Park, on the doorstep of the National Capital, containing the prime minister’s summer residence, the House of Commons Speaker’s residence and the historic Mackenzie King Estate, deserves the attention of our legislators. With climate change impacts on our horizon, expanding urban developments and growing recreation demands, it is critical that Gatineau Park’s biodiversity be given the high level of protection it deserves.
Otherwise, without legislative protection and regardless of the current Master Plan’s intentions, Gatineau Park will continue to be threatened by boundary modifications, policy shifts and, most importantly, the loss of ecological integrity.https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/lopoukhine-gatineau-park-deserves-legislation-to-properly-protect-it