"Make no mistake about it. Those trees will come down."
Those words from City of Ottawa senior legal counsel Tim Marc, in late July 2010, make it clear that the City never intended any real consultation with the community or with any Algonquin First Nations representatives. Indeed nothing has changed since the election as far as developers determining city policies is concerned, other than perhaps an even more pro-developer City Council.
How naive do they think the public is that they expect them to believe their "pretty pleases" to the developer mean anything after they have given them full speed ahead approval to clear cut and blast the forest away.
So where do we go from here. We know the City has no intention to stand up to KNL (Urbandale/Richcraft) even in the face of documented flaws in the environmental assessment process, inadequate and inappropriate storm water management plans and alleged outright illegalities, not to mention the lack of a proper response to the archaeological information provided to them and the complete lack of constitutionally required consultations with all First Nations with an interest in and concerns about the land.
We still hold out hope that someone, perhaps another sovereign level of government, will have the political will to step in and save the Beaver Pond Forest before it is destroyed.
Cutting has now been delayed till February - time to write your federal and provincial representatives and the NCC.
Regardless of the outcome of the fight for the Beaver Pond Forest the fight to save the rest of the South March Highlands continues.
We must all recognize that it is not only the KNL (Urbandale/Richcraft) lands that are threatened, and it is not only the privately owned lands currently zoned Environmental Protection that are potentially threatened.
The South March Highlands are one ecosystem and one habitat for flora and fauna. If all the lands surrounding the city owned South March Highlands Conservation Forest are destroyed the ecological integrity of the protected lands will be under great stress and undoubtedly will be affected negatively. Trillium Woods, identified by the City as the most environmentally significant zone, will be under the greatest stress if destruction is allowed to continue as planned, as it is only connected to the rest of the forest by a narrow connecting strip with Terry Fox Drive running through it.
The smaller an environmentally protected zone is, the least chance it has of surviving as anything other than an urban park. That is why the 40% agreement narrow strips of land are meaningless, as is "Marianne's Pathway", essentially an urban pathway the cost of which was twice as much protected land elsewhere.
I say to the city of Ottawa do not let what happened to the lands south of the Conservation Forest happen to the lands north of it. Act immediately while these lands are zoned Environmental Protection (and valued accordingly) to bring them into public ownership and protection before it is too late, using the City's expropriation powers, if necessary. Even former councillor and fiscal conservative Gord Hunter recommended that.
As for the KNL (Urbandale/Richcraft) lands south of the Conservation Forest, they are the most important to save as they provide the connection between Trillium Woods and the rest of the Conservation Forest. But we know that we cannot depend on the City to save them.
That is why we have to get the message out to our provincial and federal representatives that these lands are special. Anyone who has spent time in them or has studied then knows this. And these lands are not just environmentally significant but culturally significant to the Algonquin Peoples containing archeological sites and have been declared sacred by their Elders.
The National Capital Commission is currently studying whether to add the South March Highlands to the Greenbelt as part of their Review of the Greenbelt Master Plan, but the Final Master Plan is not scheduled to be completed till Fall 2012. This may be too late for significant parts of the South March Highlands.
Everyone must urge the NCC to expedite the decision making process on adding these lands to the Greenbelt. Write or email NCC CEO Marie Lemay and other federal government representatives and tell them how much the South March Highlands means to you and how important it is to save all of it as a complete ecosystem.
Meanwhile we have to buy time for the NCC and other levels of government to act. We must do what we can to stop the destruction of the Beaver Pond Forest and to stop KNL (Urbandale/Richcraft) from moving on to the next phases of destruction.
Usually when house buyers purchase houses, they just see a housing development. They do not know what was there before. This will not be so for the Beaver Pond Forest. Potential house buyers will know that they are buying houses on destroyed sacred land. And they will know that if they buy these houses KNL (Urbandale/Richcraft) will move on to destroy more land to build more houses. This fact alone can have a huge impact on preventing KNL (Urbandale/Richcraft) from moving ahead to further phases of destruction.
It is time to let our elected leaders know that it is never too late to do the right thing.
South March Highlands Overview
Save Ottawa's South March Highlands
Ottawa's Great Forest
I want to save the land North of Beaver Pond Park in Kanata Ontario Facebook Group
The Fifth Column SMH posts
The Fifth Column SMH Management Plan posts
Virtual Nonsense (Paul Renaud) SMH posts
South March Highlands Advocacy
South March Highlands Stewardship Plan
Brunton 2004 Report
Brunton 2008 Report