Construction in Gatineau Park: New House on Meech Lake
The Gatineau Park Protection Committee (GPPC) is condemning the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Liberal government for failing to stop construction of a new house at 787 Meech Lake Road.
The NCC has the mandate and authority to acquire all private lands in the park; yet it persists in allowing construction of new houses that violate its master plan and will grossly inflate their cost to taxpayers. All master plans written for the park since 1952 emphasize that private lands pose serious problems to park management and must be eventually removed.
A 1988 Treasury Board decision integrated all Gatineau Park private lands into the National Interest Land Mass (NILM), earmarking them for eventual acquisition. “On the basis of the 1988 Treasury Board NILM approval […],” says an NCC document, “the NCC was directed to acquire and consolidate non-federal lands identified as part of the NILM”.
The cost of acquiring these properties is estimated to be about $100 million, but what will it be ten years from now, after NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson has allowed countless more mansions to go up in Gatineau Park and around Meech Lake?
This is the 132nd new house in Gatineau Park since 1992 – the 117th under a Liberal government – and the NCC board has a moral and fiduciary obligation to halt this construction and continued plunder of the public purse.
Clearly, the NCC has lost control of the issue, and time has come for the Liberal Government to fulfill its commitments to protect Gatineau Park and expropriate the property at 787 Meech Lake Road. We are calling on MPs Greg Fergus and Will Amos to stop hiding from the press and tell us what they intend to do to protect Gatineau Park.
Mr Amos and Mr Fergus refused to speak to the press about Gatineau Park on two occasions: to the West Quebec Post on May 13, and to Radio-Canada on July 9.
During the last election campaign, Mr Fergus distributed a flyer where he promised to make Gatineau Park protection one of his ‘top priorities,’ and the time has come for him to act on his promise.
A recent study by the Municipality of Chelsea confirmed that 119 structures have been built without permit at Meech Lake, 79 of them on the lake bed, which belongs to the federal government by virtue of a 1973 land exchange with Quebec.
Michael Lait & Jean-Paul Murray,
The Gatineau Park Protection Committee