--- Gatineau's wild spaces: what's next?
This is an Open Letter to Mayor Pednaud-Jobin, Madame Marquis-Bissonnette and other Councillors.
I want to congratulate you and the other progressive members of Council for your leadership in taking the initial step for protecting the trees and wetlands of the City of Gatineau. These green infrastructures, essential features of our environment, are vital for us to adapt to climate change as well as to improve our quality of life. This proposed direction under the Master Plan is an important first step, but only the first step!
To turn this commitment into reality (or from another photo-op into actual results), Council needs to make decisions on the following before the next municipal election: 1) Restrict further development in Boucher forest; 2) Protect wetlands on land own by the City; and 3) Establish new policies and revised bylaws to support the protection of trees and wetlands in the future.
Such policies will help avoid further conflicts between citizens and developers. There are already many examples of excellent wetland protection policies adopted by other cities, such as Edmonton and Saskatoon, and the Quebec Province's Wetlands and Water Conservation Act provides an excellent legal basis for such policies. There are also many examples of practical tree protection policies in Ottawa, Point Claire, and Toronto, which the city can adapt for its own use.
The City’s work is just starting. As a recently retired senior government official for nature conservation, I will be happy to help Council and the Administration, pro bono, to ensure the completion of these policies…… before the next election.