Despite opposition from Algonquins of Ontario, citizens and organizations, KNL (Urbandale) will begin clear cutting 26 hectares of forest in the South March Highlands in Kanata just west of Ottawa this week.
Steve Hulaj, one of the leaders of Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands said that: “The City is willingly allowing the destruction of potential native artifacts and site by willingly allowing what according to researchers is a flawed archaeological study to be accepted by the Province, and the Province has said it is the City’s responsibility to ask for a halt. The City has not done so, so we need to Province to act.”
Contact the provincial government to tell them to protect the South March Highlands!
The South March Highlands is a 1100-hectare forest and wetland area – with streams, pools and beaver ponds – on the northwest edge of Kanata, just west of Ottawa, about 20-minutes from Parliament Hill.
In March 2010, the construction of a four-kilometre, four-lane arterial road (the Terry Fox Drive extension) through the middle of the area began, effectively slicing the forest in two. The roadway will displace wetlands for the roadbed and there are concerns that the new road could decimate the Blanding’s turtles, a rare and threatened species, in the area. Wetlands are important for water quality in that they help clean pollutants from waterways. They also help absorb carbon in the soil, thereby helping to moderate climate change.
Permission has also been given by the Ontario Municipal Board for 3200 housing units to be built within the highlands, requiring the clear cutting of 26-hectares of forest. The housing development would surround Beaver Pond. Significantly, 10,000 year-old Algonquin artifacts, burial mounds and archaeological sites have also been found in the area.
The City of Ottawa has requested that KNL delay cutting until the Archaeological Studies have been reviewed. KNL is in discussions with the Algonquins of Ontario. However, despite this, the Ottawa Citizen reported that KNL has “made no promise to delay tree-cutting on the Beaver Pond site.”
On Sunday, January 16, Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui attended a Sacred Fire Ceremony at Beaver Pond. The mood was somber as over 100 people surrounded the fire to hear Chiefs and Elders speak about the importance of protecting Ottawa’s Great Forest. Speakers included Ardoch Chiefs Mireille Lapointe and Paula Sherman, Ottawa Chief Paul Lamothe, Kinounchepirini Chief Grant Tysick, and Elder Robert Lovelace, past-Chief from Ardoch.
To help protect the South March Highlands, please send your emails to :
Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Evans, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister for Culture, Peter.Evans@ontario.ca
Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, email@example.com
Gordon O’Connor, Federal Cabinet Minister and MP for Kanata, firstname.lastname@example.org
Norm Sterling (Member of Provincial Parliament) is email@example.com at his Toronto office and firstname.lastname@example.org is also their Toronto office