After following the evolution of this file over the last year, the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has decided to take a position on the development proposal brought forward by Windmill Developments at the Chaudière islands on the Ottawa River. It is a complex situation, involving a respected developer, several levels of government, aboriginal title and land claims, and complicated legal and ownership history, all just below what is arguably to most significant natural feature in the National Capital Region, the Chaudière Falls.

In the midst of such complexity, we have decided to speak for the land, the water and the trees. From a Greenspace Alliance perspective, this is a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to reclaim this most symbolic and significant greenspace in the heart of the national capital.  The proposed development does not align at all with this overall vision.

To advance this position, we have written a letter to the Prime Minister and other elected representatives asking that the current plan be reoriented towards this end.  The letter has been co-signed by the Ottawa Valley chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club.  You can find the text of the letter here.

Update January 29, 2016: As a result of this letter, Windmill Developments have contacted Greenspace Alliance and the other signatories to explain their position and invite a dialogue. We will await a federal response.

Update April 21, 2016: We followed up, on a day when Douglas Cardinal spoke to the issue at Carleton University:

Prime Minister, Ministers,

Douglas Cardinal this afternoon delivered a powerful lecture, hosted by the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Council of Ottawa.  Grandmothers are inviting all people of good will to join in a walk on May 30th.

The vision persists.  The issue will not go away.

May we take your non-response to date as an indication that you continue to consider returning the islands to their natural state, instead of seeing it built up, further alienating this sacred site.

“The Chaudière and Albert Islands are in the core of the national capital. Their rededication as a natural area, in recognition of indigenous claims, would be a powerful act of Reconciliation. This special area could become a central gathering place in the capital of Canada, for sharing the diverse natural and cultural stories of the land and its peoples. All of this would symbolize and embody the unfolding idea that is Canada.”

“… all of this can still be done. We ask you to act on this opportunity and make it a gift to the nation at our 150th anniversary.”

We remain hopeful.

Erwin Dreessen

Persons addressed and cc’d were as in the original letter.

Posted by Paul Johanis