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Archive for January, 2011

This is a rally to demand that the City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission (NCC), or Province of Ontario step up and do their job: order Urbandale/KNL to prevent all cutting and blasting of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring. This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural and humane reasons. All levels of government could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But the City isn’t taking responsibility. The province isn’t taking responsibility. The NCC isn’t taking responsibility. So we are going directly to City Hall and the NCC to remind them that the greed of one company should not trump the long-term Public Good.  It is their job to make the City of Ottawa a better place to live.  For us now, and for future generations. 

We need to convince them it is better for everyone that they spare the most ecologically sensitive part of Ottawa.  They must respect the requests of the local community and Algonquin communities to do a full archeological assessment of possible medicine wheels and artifacts.

PLAN
– 12pm (noon): Assemble at Human Rights Monument at City Hall
– statements will be read, hard copies of letters and petitions delivered, songs shared.  Exact schedule TBA.

– Bring your own signs, we also have some made which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show (first come, first serve 😉

– Bring hardcopies of your letters to City Council and NCC.  We will ask the Mayor to come out to receive them!

– Be musical (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
– Main Message to City Hall, NCC, & Province: Take Responsibility! Do the Right Thing: Stop Urbandale from Cutting or Blasting Beaver Pond Forest
MORE INFO

Location: google maps
On the Forest: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/
http://www.southmarchhighlands.ca/

Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm water management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress specific page

Community voices: http://the5thc.blogspot.com/
https://candle4kindness.wordpress.com/

Petitions: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Do-Not-Cut-Beaver-Pond-Forest-or-SMH/

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The snow fell steadily as we assembled, Ogui duct-taping posts to the beautiful signs Stefan had created for our rally.   As I tried (unsuccessfully) to figure out how to use the megaphone, a SUV pulled up and I spotted Grandfather William Commanda and his assistant, Romola.  I raced over to greet them.  We had not known if 97 year old Grandfather Commanda would be up for the journey over to join us.

Once people had their signs, we formed a circle, with Grandfather able to stay seated in the vehicle.  Elder Albert Dumont gave a beautiful opening Blessing for our rally and march, reminding us to be mindful with every step we took that it was a step to help save the Forest.  Paul Renaud then gave an impassioned speech, challenging the City of Ottawa to do the right thing and demand a new Archeological Assessment, which would halt destruction of the Forest until spring.

Then Grandfather Commanda prayed for the land (in three languages) and offered tobacco.   Those of us who have worked together to save the Beaver Pond Forest over these months (and for some, these decades), were moved and grateful.   In a letter to City Council, the Premiere, and others, Grandfather wrote that the Beaver Pond Forest is “[a] living temple, a place of Manitou, a special place of nature, and that precious reality also demands immediate protection and reverence.”

As the protesters marched off, all the more eager due to the cold, I went to thank Grandfather.  He held my hand and spoke to me mostly in French, at first it was difficult to hear his words due to the good-natured clamour of those marching to the Urbandale Sales office.   As it became quiet, only a few of us with Grandfather,  I could hear his words.  But his message went beyond words.  It was about living a good life.  More than anything, I felt it was validating my efforts, and it inspires me to continue to put my energy into helping nurture a sense of interconnectedness with each other, the land, and other species.

After Romola gently reminded him a few times that I was the Rally’s emcee, he finally released my hand, and they gave me a lift to join the rest of the group.  But I would have happily listened to him for the rest of the day.

Many more powerful words, drumbeats, and songs were shared at the Urbandale Sales Office.  The crowd was eager to keep fighting,

Elder Albert Dumont at the 8 Jan 2011 rally

to keep our candle of hope burning bright for this Land.   We each know Beaver Pond Forest has a powerful and beautiful energy that fuels and inspires our efforts to save it.

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This song was inspired by the South March Highlands and those fighting courageously and creatively to stop it from being clear-cut & blown-up next week.  There is something beautiful and powerful about the Forest we can’t quite explain, but it fuels our ability to work tirelessly (or despite being tired!) to save it.   And people keep coming forward to help us, as my friends Stefan, Ogui, Jessica, Michael, and Ed did to get a rough version of this song recorded before the Jan 8 rally.

Rough Cut: Beaver Pond Forest Song

So much noise out there

It can be hard to hear your own voice

So much power used against us

make ya feel you have no choice

We may each feel small

But together we stand tall

So wake up and raise your voice

Go on and make your choice

Who’s gonna fix this

If we back down

Who’s  gonna save

Our sacred ground

Its an old story

We don’t have much time

To stop the chainsaws

To stop this crime

A beautiful forest

Home to many species

Bit by bit

Cut into tiny pieces

No one paid

To take the long view

Except developers

Makin’ profits for the few

The rich play golf

While the forest crashes down

Basements get flooded

Can we turn this around?

Where is Ottawa City Hall?

Where’s the NCC?

Where is the province?

Why is it just you & me?

Why do humans use our power against life

Against life

Against life

And that is our fight

for life

that is our fight

for life

that is our fight

for life

Beaver Pond Forest

took centuries to grow

A week to destroy

This is our chance to show

That we’ve become wiser

That we fix mistakes

That we value life

That we’ve got what it takes

Will we listen to our Elders?

Which path will we choose

This is a key time

Not a moment to lose

So get up and raise your voice

Go on and make your choice

Who’s gonna fix this

If we back down

Who’s  gonna save

Our sacred ground

Vote with your dollar

picket Urbandale

prove this is the wrong way

to make a sale

Cut through the busy

You know its right

Save Beaver Pond Forest

Please join our fight!

So get up and raise your voice

Go on and make your choice

Who’s gonna fix this

If we back down

Who’s gonna save

Our sacred ground

Light  your candle for hope

Don’t give in

The truth will rise,

we can all still win

Light that candle

Don’t give in

Truth will rise,

we can all still win.

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GOAL
This is a rally to invite Urbandale/KNL to halt all cutting and blasting of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring. This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural and humane reasons. The City could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But the City refuses to put its foot down. The City isn’t taking responsibility. The province isn’t taking responsibility. The NCC isn’t taking responsibility. So we are going directly to the company that owns the land. We need to convince them it is better for everyone that they spare the most ecologically sensitive part of Ottawa. We need to prove it is more profitable to do the right thing.

PLAN
– Assemble in public parking lot next to All Saints High School at 1pm (5115 Kanata Avenue)
– Bring your own signs, we also have dozens made, including some which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show
– March to Urbandale Sales Office (503 Remnor Avenue, half block away)
– Be loud, but musically (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
– Main Message to Urbandale: Do the Right Thing or Lose our Business

MORE INFO

FB: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169031313140224

Google map link: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=45.322173%2C-75.927628&spn=0.004813%2C0.013797&z=16

song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZBcLvtcJBY

on the Forest: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/
http://www.southmarchhighlands.ca/
Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm waster management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress
community voices:http://the5thc.blogspot.com/
Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Do-Not-Cut-Beaver-Pond-Forest-or-SMH/

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This is a message we are trying to get to James Cameron. If you know how to reach him, please let me know!!!

Many Thanks,

Julie.

*******************************************************************

2 Jan 2011

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Thank you for your film Avatar, and your subsequent work to support Indigenous people’s struggles to protect our Earth.   This is to ask if you would be willing to save a little Pandora right in Ottawa: the Beaver Pond Forest part of the South March Highlands.

The South March Highlands is home to 18 species at risk, 679 species total, and is designated as a Provincially Significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI).  10,000 years ago, the South March Highlands and Gatineau Park were the two high points, two islands, not submerged below the inland Champlain sea.  This is why it is the most likely place for archaeological finds and for sites sacred to First Nations peoples.

It now belongs to KNL, a partnership of Urbandale and Richcraft.  They are determined to clear cut and blow it up by the second week of January to build a subdivision.

Anishinabek (Algonquin) Elders have asked that a proper Archaeological assessment to be done in the Spring given the recent find of a possible stone medicine wheel.  The South March Highlands – Carp River Conservation Inc has also identified many problems with inadequate Environmental Assessments and Storm Water Management Plans.

No one disputes the land is the most ecologically valuable near Ottawa.  But the City of Ottawa doesn’t want to pay for the mistakes over the years that have allowed this land to be zoned for development.  Nor does City Council appear to have the will be halt development by insisting that the Archaeological and Environmental Assessments be redone.  Our appeals to the National Capital Commission, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Heritage Canada have so far fallen on deaf ears.

We have fought for years to save this land.  Some of us for 3 decades!  But we are running out of options.  The community does want to buy the Beaver Pond Forest, but we don’t have time to raise the funds.  KNL/Urbandale is not a willing seller, but they must have a price.  Would you be willing to purchase the land?  It would be a tiny percentage of Avatar’s profits, very well spent!  And we have a Stewardship Plan and Business Plan for the Forest, so the community could also arrange for this to be a loan that we repay to you.

For more information, my coordinates are below, as well as links to websites.

Thank you, and Happy UN Year of Forests.  Saving what should become Ottawa’s Great Forest would be a great way to start the year!

Kind Regards,

Julie.

Julie Comber

PhD Candidate

University of Ottawa

julie.comber@uottawa.ca

https://candle4kindness.wordpress.com

More information

Stewardship Plan: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com

Need for a proper Archaeological Assessment: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/Site/Archaeology.html

Missing Environmental Assessments: http://renaud.ca/wordpress/?p=716

One community group: http://southmarch.wordpress.com/about-us

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