In short, it is something that we need to protect. It's unique. We are priviledged to have such biodiversity here in Ottawa. We shouldn't be bulldozing it.
Below is the text from the email I received. It describes the situation better than I could. Please write or call your councillor and ask them to vote to expropriate the Beaver Pond Forest. An election is coming up. This is a chance to be heard.
I've just emailed my councillor. Will you?
On October 6, Ottawa City Council will vote on whether to save Ottawa’s Beaver Pond Forest from development. Amazingly, the unparalleled value of this City forest, believed to be one of the most biodiverse regions in Canada, is not in dispute. Ottawa is the only major city in the world to have an old-growth forest with so many different plants and animals within an urban area—not even Vancouver’s Stanley Park or NY’s Central Park can compare. It is the only expression of the Canadian Shield in urban Ottawa, one of only four Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest in all of Ontario (another is Algonquin Park), and home to over 675 species, including many at risk. Recent discoveries show it may also be the oldest site of a Stone Age human civilization in Ontario. Calls to save this forest have come from the David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club of Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness, Green Party of Canada, a dozen Ottawa-based organizations, and many others, including a 5,000-member grassroots Facebook group.
But it appears that developers, alone, get to make the decision to wipe this old-growth forest and its endangered species off the map, even though their decision will have profound environmental consequences for us all. Even though there are far more suitable places to build, the area’s protected status overturned in 1981, and we are expected to abide by this “development at all costs” decision in today’s global-warming world. At the same time, the 40% Agreement allows a privately owned, $22,500-annual membership golf course to be “protected” from development, while the old-growth forest with endangered species is put on the chopping block to be clear-cut and paved over for developers’ profits.
It’s time for people like you and me to take back our right to have a voice in environmental decisions that affect us. The environment is too important to have these decisions made only by developers who are driven by profits, and those politicians who always vote in favour of more and more development, no matter what the costs. Last year the City had over 115 infrastructure development projects, and not one was a green infrastructure project. We need to tell all Councillors and Mayor Larry O’Brien that the people of Ottawa want a say in this environmental decision, and that this forest must be preserved. The City currently has a surplus of unspent money for infrastructure projects—more than enough to cover the $14-$22 million expropriation fee compared to the $192 million being spent on Lansdowne Park.
City Council will vote on this motion to save the Beaver Pond Forest on Oct. 6. To politicians, silence = compliance, so please contact your Councillor and ask them to support the motion TODAY.
And if you can, please FORWARD this message to five people you know
who are also tired of being “the silenced majority”.
Once the forest is gone, it’s gone forever. Taking a minute of your time now will help us get our voices back—and allow us to save something very precious for future generations as well. Please send the following email to your City Councillor with a cc to the Mayor at email@example.com. Feel free to add your own comments too. Addresses for all Councillors: http://www.ottawa.ca/city_hall/mayor_council/councillors/index_en.html
I live in your ward and I urge you to expropriate Ottawa’s Beaver Pond Forest. How you vote on this will influence who I vote for in the upcoming election.
- Expropriation is the right thing to do and the only way this City can correct the mistake made by the RMOC when it allowed the area to be included in the Campeau development plans back in the 1980s. Every politician of that day now recognizes that it was a mistake and, given what we know now, would never have allowed it to happen had they known more facts.
- The cost of expropriation is reasonable. The assessed value on the land is less than $55 K /acre. Staff valuation will certainly be generous and fair to the landowner.
- The funds for expropriation are available. The City currently has a surplus of $31 M in unspent infrastructure funds. I’m tired of seeing my tax dollars being used to support only non-green development projects. Last year the City had over 115 infrastructure development projects and no green infrastructure at all.
- The electorate is increasingly attuned to green issues as a result of climate change, oil spills, soaring energy costs, etc. A survey of Ottawa residents by the NCC found that Ottawa residents overwhelmingly place a high value on green space and want it expanded.
- Protecting the Beaver Pond and the South March Highlands creates immense value for the City that, properly managed, can be used to attract tourism. No other city in the world has an old-growth forest teeming with species-at-risk and other wildlife, stone-age archaeological sites, ancient vortexes/energy sites, and unique geological features that showcase how the Ice Age transformed Canada.
- The City may be able to make some money on the transaction if the NCC moves to expand the Greenbelt in 2 – 3 years and buys it from the City, since land values are likely to appreciate.
Therefore, I ask that you vote FOR Marianne Wilkinson and Clive Doucet’s motion to expropriate the Beaver Pond Forest in the South March Highlands of Kanata.