On Saturday February 6, a group of community leaders, artists, architects, planners, creators, writers, historians, professionals, academics, social enterprises, and organizations met to discuss strategies to bring our communities and networks together to find a responsible and productive public response to the LeBreton Flats Redevelopment.
After weeks of rumours and speculations, the National Capital Commission finally released the details of the two proponent proposals on January 26 at a two-day public display at the Canadian War Museum. Public feedback is being collected through an online survey that closes on February 8th. According to the NCC website, the evaluation committee will make its recommendation to the Board of Directors in March and negotiations with the preferred proponent will begin this summer.
The diversity of the group that met Saturday was reflected in the diversity of opinions and concerns we shared with each other but the uniting, rallying message was:
The mechanism for public participation in this process are insufficient and it is critical that we find strategies to insist on opening the process so that our different voices and concerns can be heard and considered.
To that end, we are distributing an URGENT CALL encouraging our community in Ottawa and across Canada to complete the public feedback survey. We have prepared the following text that can be edited or copy-pasted directly into the final question of the three-page survey:
The strength of the NCC position on LeBreton Flats is in recognizing it as an important piece of land with significant potential. It deserves careful consideration and should be protected to ensure thoughtful and meaningful redevelopment. On the eve of the 150th anniversary celebrations, this site of significance in the Nation’s Capital must reflect the public interests of Canadians. Both the process and plan must show care in engaging and responding to the needs and values of its diverse population and in respecting the integrity and vulnerability of its environment. LeBreton Flats presents an opportunity for the NCC to offer a vision of responsible stewardship and a space for reconciliation with the displaced working class community who once inhabited the site and the First Nations People.
Before a final and irrevocable decision is made, I join my community in requesting more time to consider the proposals and to engage in meaningful public participation to better assist the NCC make a decision that truly rises to the potential of this site of national significance.
We recognize participating in the limited format of the NCC official survey is insufficient. We intend to continue working collectively as a network of interest groups and individuals to find more meaningful and effective ways of engaging the public in the future redevelopment of the site.
We look forward to announcing future opportunities for public discussion and action as we move forward.
The Dalhousie Community Association has also compiled the following list of responses to specific issues and concerns to assist in completing the NCC survey or in writing letters to your city councilor, MPP, MP, NCC, etc.
Please feel free to submit your own survey responses in the comment section below.