Gatineau Park is in Serious Trouble: Questions for the NCC Board

Gatineau Park is in Serious Trouble: Questions for the NCC Board
Posted on June 22, 2022 | Jean-Paul Murray | Written on June 22, 2022
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Letter type:
Op-Ed

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Gatineau Park is threatened on several fronts; the following questions were sent to the NCC board, which is meeting on June 23.

Dear NCC,

Gatineau Park is in serious trouble: four new houses are being built[i]; the government is covering up its report on the violation of the Species at Risk Act in the lac La Pêche sector, and the National Capital Commission is refusing to enforce its zoning authority over all private park properties, an authority very specifically spelled out in its governing legislation.

Accordingly, I would appreciate your forwarding the following questions to members of the Board of Directors who are scheduled to meet on June 23, 2020:

1) Environment Canada Investigation, Pellerin Bridge, Gatineau Park: Why did the NCC fail to obtain a permit under the Species at Risk Act for the rehabilitation of the Pellerin Bridge in Gatineau Park? What information did the NCC provide Environment Canada for its investigation into violations of the Species at Risk Act, led by Wildlife Officer Émilie-Roberge Pelletier? Is the investigation complete, if not, why not? What is the nature of the expertise requested by Environment Canada to complete its report? Has the NCC received a copy of Ms. Roberge-Pelletier's report?

2) Management of environmental protection in Gatineau Park: Why does the NCC say in its many master plans that Gatineau Park is an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category II park (protection equivalent to a national park), when it is not listed as a member of that organization? Why does the NCC claim that Environment Canada is responsible for managing application of this category in Gatineau Park, when the management of the park falls under the Department of Public Works? Why does the NCC claim that Gatineau Park is managed according to this category, which requires  the elimination of residential occupancy and disavows new constructions, when four (4) new constructions are underway in the park?

3) Private Property Management in Gatineau Park: Why does the NCC claim it has no authority over private properties located in Gatineau Park, since those properties were incorporated into the National Interest Land Mass and since the NCC has been directed to acquire them by Treasury Board? Why does the NCC claim it has no authority over private properties located in Gatineau Park, since section 14 of the National Capital Act authorizes the NCC to expropriate any property in the National Capital Region, since Order in Council PC 2008-1604 authorizes the NCC to purchase all private properties in the park, since Section 25 of the National Capital Act declares the park to be for the general advantage of all Canadians (that’s the federal declaratory power, which gives the NCC exclusive jurisdiction over all its works)? Why does the NCC say it has no authority over private properties in Gatineau Park, given that the Supreme Court has ruled (Munro v. NCC) that the NCC could zone all properties in the National Capital Region, by virtue of the federal government’s powers for “Peace, Order and Good Government?” Why does the NCC persist in saying that private properties in Gatineau Park are a municipal responsibility when the doctrine of federal paramountcy stipulates that when municipal/provincial laws and bylaws conflict with federal legislation those municipal/provincial laws or bylaws are inoperative and of no effect? (in this case, municipal bylaws conflict with section 10(2)(c) of the National Capital Act, the power to “construct, maintain and operate parks… and section 25 of the Act.)

[i] 909 Meech Lake Road;  27 Highland Road (Kingsmere sector); 1124 Mountain Road and 120 Edgewood Street (Skyridge sector).

About The Author

J-P Murrayp's picture

A writer, certified/literary translator and communications specialist with nearly 25 years experience working on Parliament Hill. In 2015, Ekstasis Editions published his translation of Robert Lalonde's Little... More