NCC signs Gatineau Park death warrant
Just before the NCC informed the public it will be closing the Gatineau Parkway in the evenings as soon as it opens on May 17—a 59-year-old public right of access—it handed out 49-year occupancy permits to 50 Meech Lake residents who are encroaching on federal property, i.e., the shoreline, lake bed and land.
Former NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson signed the park plan’s death warrant on July 12, 2017 in a document entitled “Opportunity to Regularize Encroachments on NCC land at Meech Lake” (obtained under Access to Information Request).
Section 9 (i) of the document spells out these new encroachment rights on the Park’s public space: “for boathouses wholly or partly built on NCC lands: personal easement or occupancy permit for the owner ... until the end of the useful life of the structure, or 49 years (not transferable to the sale outside the family).”
This is in clear conflict with the 2010 Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan, which underlines that “easements and property rights (e.g., private properties and developments, residential leases) are not consistent with the Park’s mission” (p. 19). Every master plan concurs.
Park director Christie Spence, sounded the final death knell when she sent fifty letters to Meech Lake residents in July 2018
It seems Ms Spence was unaware that local newspapers reported a few years ago that some 80% of residents were still violating this by-law several years after it came into force in 2011.
The Gatineau Park Conservation Plan (2010) emphasizes that private properties “stress the host environment in the form of water pollution, habitat fragmentation and the erosion of riparian habitats” (p. 62).
By granting easements to Meech Lake residents, the NCC, as a Crown corporation, may be creating de facto acquired rights. This could mean that the NCC is creating new case law that condones private encroachment inside federal conservation parks. Unbelievable nonsense only the NCC seems able to hatch.
Despite the seriousness of this unconditional surrender, the NCC has never informed the public that it had granted private occupancy permits on Gatineau Park land.
Gatineau Park Protection Committee