An Eastern Bridge
Let’s revisit the bridge issue and the option I am putting forward in the spirit of finding a workable solution.
I have always supported the construction of a new bridge to get the heavy trucks out of the core of the city. I cannot however support an option which would put them in another community, thus ruling out option 5 (Kettle Island corridor), which passes right through several populated areas on both sides of the Ottawa River, or option 6 (Lower Duck corridor), that would go through a densely populated and long established community on the Quebec side. As for option 7, I have strong reservations with the work of Phase 1 consultants who needlessly included a swath of Convent Glen in the prospective corridor.
What we need is an option that considers a corridor away from established communities, that does not punch a hole through the green belt, and that provides an economic development opportunity. The Canotek option considers a corridor on the Ontario side of the River, immediately east of the Canotek Industrial Park and the R.O. Pickard Sewage Treatment Plant, as well as entirely west of the green belt, thus avoiding it. The corridor would cross the River, touching on the eastern tip of Lower Duck Island and making a landfall on the Quebec side where there is a soon to be abandoned quarry; then northward to Route 148 – which provides an easy access to the Gatineau Executive Airport and Highway 50. You can see and read about this option on-line by visiting either www.pourunmeilleurpont.org (French) or www.stopthebridge.org (English).
On the redevelopment plans of the Rockcliffe Airbase, subsequent to the two public open houses held in 2006, the 3rd Public Open House which was scheduled to take place on June 19th, has been cancelled. Having been advised that Canada Lands Company slowed down its redevelopment plans pending the transfer of the title from the Department of National Defence, it seems that the transfer remains pending in light of outstanding Aboriginal land claims, as reported by a number of media outlets in the past few weeks in the Spring of 2007. I have written to Ministers Vic Toews and Lawrence Cannon asking for a thorough briefing on this matter by their respective department officials and I am advised that aboriginal land claims remain pending until further notice.
As laid out, the residential plan calls for eight distinct neighbourhoods, made up of stores, offices and roughly 4,500 housing units. One particular preference I will continue to maintain is the importance of setting aside sufficient land on the site for non-residential use. As I have expressed on a number of occasions, I strongly believe that the upcoming development must cater to a vision that goes well beyond the development of yet another residential project.
For a community projecting 10,000 residents or more to be sustainable and not become a quasi bedroom community, there is a strong need for jobs on site. The current plan calls for 1,500 jobs. I believe a number in the range of 3,000-4,000 would be a greater guarantor of a successful sustainability.
There needs to be a larger focus on real job creation so that we may enhance economic development for the entire eastern region.
Real job creation, on site, will also contribute to effectively limit commuting.
Let us be mindful that with this development, we have an opportunity to build a sustainable community, on a significant scale, which could become a pilot and exemplary community for future developments in Canada.
I would like to inform you that Canada Lands Company (CLC), the Crown Corporation in charge of the redevelopment of the Rockcliffe airbase, unveiled a website dedicated to this particular development. The website address is www.clcrockcliffe.ca . I invite you to take a few moments to browse through it, as it contains useful information about this important development.
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that Bill C-17, An Act to recognize Beechwood Cemetery as the national cemetery of Canada, received Royal Assent on April 23, 2009. The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Albert Cromwell from the Supreme Court of Canada granted, on behalf of the Governor General, the status of National Cemetery to Beechwood Cemetery.
Two years ago, I introduced a private Member’s bill to designate Beechwood Cemetery, the final resting place for over 75,000 people from all socio-economic backgrounds and occupations, as Canada’s National Cemetery.
At the time, I had asked fellow MPs Royal Galipeau, Conservative MP for Ottawa—Orléans, and Paul Dewar, NDP MP for Ottawa Centre, to support my bill – which they did without hesitation, and I thank them for their backing.
To speed up the passage of the bill, I then urged the government to make it its own and I am very pleased that it agreed to do so by introducing Bill C-17, which is now law.
Established in 1873, Beechwood National Cemetery is the final resting place of many distinguished Canadians. It is also home to the National Military Cemetery, the RCMP Memorial Cemetery, as well as an Historic Site.
For further information, please visit www.beechwoodcemetery.com