The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society today issued a press release supporting the NCC’s decision to close a section of Gamelin Street that runs through Gatineau Park.
The NCC confirmed on January 25 its intention to close the road, highlighting this will restore habitat, reduce the number of roads and traffic in the park, and fulfill a 2005 Master Plan commitment.
Although Gatineau municipal council voted 15 to 3 in support of closing the road at an August 2011 meeting, it has decided to reconsider its decision, given public opposition to it. Meanwhile, the NCC is standing its ground and says it will close the road next spring.
Below is the CPAWS release.
CPAWS supports NCC closure of Gamelin: wants fewer roads in park
Ottawa, February 7, 2012 – The Ottawa Valley Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) fully supports the National Capital Commission (NCC) in its decision to close a 500 metre stretch of rue Gamelin that runs through Gatineau Park. The NCC agreed to this road closure in 1983 as a minor mitigation measure for the construction of the four-lane boul. des Allumettières.
Closure of this road is a welcome step in the right direction that will help restore the ecological integrity of Gatineau Park. In the 2005 Gatineau Park Master Plan the NCC declared ecological integrity to be its top management priority. With 40km of parkways and 60km of municipal roads cutting in and through Gatineau Park, this expansive road network is one of the greatest threats to the Park’s ecological integrity, causing wildlife fatalities and habitat fragmentation.
At 500m in length, the soon-to-be closed section of rue Gamelin is relatively small, but CPAWS sees this road closure as significant because it will recombine 420 acres of natural space. Like any other road crossing through Gatineau Park, rue Gamelin fragments the habitat of many small animals. This road closure will benefit the area’s species at risk, including the Milk Snake, Water Snake, Snapping Turtle, and Western Chorus Frog.
“Since the early nineties, some 1,842 acres have been removed from Gatineau Park, with 334 acres falling prey to road building. So this closure is a clear signal the NCC is making efforts to restore the park’s ecological integrity,” said CPAWS-OV Executive Director John McDonnell.
CPAWS urges the NCC to take further bold actions in line with its 2005 Master Plan commitment to protect the ecological integrity of Gatineau Park. When addressing the sprawling road network in Gatineau Park, such actions should include a moratorium on all future road construction, a study on the need for existing roads, and opening negotiations with municipalities over other possible road closures.
Information: John McDonnell, Executive Director, Ottawa Valley Chapter, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society; tel.: 613-232-7297; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.