Editor’s note: Spacing Ottawa contributor Tim Lash has authored the following open letter to the activists and community leaders advocating for Beaver Pond and the South March Highlands:
Anita Utas, artist
Gord Henderson, President, Kanata Beaverbrook Community Association
Steve Hulaj, advocate, Ottawa’s Great Forest
Dr. William Commanda, Elder, Algonquins of the Ottawa River Watershed
Julie Comber, PhD candidate, U of Ottawa, Stewardship Plan for the Beaver Pond Forest
Will Amos, Director, Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, U of Ottawa
Paul Renaud, South March Highlands-Carp River Conservation Inc
Dear Anita, Steve, Gord, Paul, Chief Commanda, Will, and Julie
I admire your energy in protecting Kanata’s Beaver Pond forest, and in offering practical better ways forward. I thank you for it, too, as a citizen of Ottawa.
The start of the felling is horrible.
Even so, you and your associations’ work is a real contribution to Ottawa-wide awareness and willpower.
We care about our treasured natural and cultural realities. Many more in Ottawa are determined that community voices will be heard and respected.
This doesn’t bring back trees that are being brought down, or change the desecration of a place. I’m sure these losses are felt most keenly by people like you who’ve been fighting closest and hardest. But you are making a big and lasting civic contribution.
Your practical financial alternative shows that Mayor Watson, Urbandale, the city Council majority and city staff have options. We know an alignment of values and actions with commercial development over the interests of communities and stewardship hurts the city. We know it can happen again.
Doing better takes watching, action and persistence, and a shared civic focus. You show we have it in us.
So thank you. Please pass this to people in your associations.
photo by Richard Akerman