Citizens stop sale of Lucerne / Fraser green space
Thanks to dozens of citizens, Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin has suspended the sale of the wooded lot at the corner of Lucerne Boulevard and Fraser Road, in Deschênes. Information about the site’s natural and historical value has poured forth from local historians, nature-lovers and naturalists.
At least two groups have collaborated online to oppose the sale. According to one City Councillor, the profits were to fund the $10M construction of a new arena.
The site contains significant old-growth oak from which the area derives its name, Deschênes; a name translated from the Anishinàbemowin, Miciminj, which translates to “there, where the oak grows”. So, this forest is, in fact, la forêt-Deschênes.
La forêt-Deschênes contains a sensitive wetland inhabited by a significant diversity of species, plus areas that were classified by the Groupe de recherche archéologique de l’Outaouais as ‘elevated’ to ‘moderately elevated’ for their archaeological potential. In the early 1900s, the shoreline, known as Bell’s Bay, was identified by Aylmer Naturalist TW Edwin Sowter as a significant indigenous encampment area. Many Indigenous artifacts were found.
So, before the City proceeds, a proper plan, derived from community input, is needed for preservation and stewardship of both Bell’s Bay and la forêt-Deschênes.
According to the Mayor, City Council was not aware of the value of the property. The Mayor added, “I want to thank the citizens who have mobilized, as well as the residents’ associations in the area, for sharing their knowledge of this field with us. ... From now on, we will verify the ecological value before putting any publicly owned land up for sale.”
The battle is not yet won; the Mayor has simply suspended the sale, and promised “checks on ecological value” before such sales.” We hope City Council has learned that the expertise in the city’s history and heritage resides principally in the hearts, minds and memories of its citizens.