Navan Wetland Creation Cancelled

Many of you are aware that the City of Ottawa and the South Nation Conservation Authority were intending to create a wetland in a park in Navan. The community adjacent to the park believe they were not consulted about the project and only became aware of it when work began to construct a series of ponds. The Navan Landowners Committee (NLC) was formed and this group worked hard to inform neighbours about the project and potential impacts on properties adjacent to the park. Concerns about increased mosquito populations, introduction of new wildlife, and wetlands designations for their properties led to two meetings to discuss the project. It became apparent that most of the community was not in favour of the project and it was cancelled. Please see below a letter from Cheryle Houle, co-founder of the NLA, describing their work. Well done Navan Landowners!

Good afternoon neighbours,

You did make difference!

Congratulations to all who stood up to assert their concerns and voice their opposition to Councillor Stephen Blais and South Nation Conservation (SNC) about the proposal to create a man made wetland in our community.

The conservation authority’s decision to “forgo” this project is a victory for Navan landowners.

Rather than listening to the serious concerns brought forth by residents, Councillor Blais chose to place the blame back onto Navan residents who strongly opposed the project and those who expressed their mistrust for him to conduct a fair decision-making process. It appears Blais approached the media in an attempt to discredit the efforts a group of Navan residents who were merely trying to have him listen to them. He tried to tarnish the reputation of these residents in an effort evade the real issues and to polish his own reputation.

Councillor Blais and SNC’s lack of transparency, their inability to provide a guarantee that the contrived wetland would not be re-designated in the future, along with over 450 petition signatures and over 160 letters of complaint opposing the project, should have been enough for them to base their decision on. They stated lies and misinformation were being spread. Then during the last meeting on June 7th, they asked residents to complete a comment sheet to indicate if they were in favour of the project. What were the results?

In the end, Councillor Blais sided with outrageous claims made by SNC, which referred to those in opposition as aggressive and potentially violent vandals. Blais was unable to base his decision on the fact that there is a clear majority opposed to the wetland proposal. Instead, Councillor Blais launched a public relations spin to help remove himself from making a final decision. The failure of this project is now blamed on Navan residents. It can be assumed that Blais is more concerned with his reputation and the upcoming election for his position in 2018.

Councillor Blais is our elected official and somewhere along the way he seems to have forgotten that he works for the people who elected him. Their concerns should be his concerns. Instead, he has chosen to call those opposed “rude” and “inappropriate”, when they tried to have him acknowledge their concerns and to answer their questions.

The Navan Landowners Committee (NLC) represents Navan property owners within the Cumberland Ward. NLC members are supporters of the environment and will continue to keep tabs on the growing government infringement on the rights of Navan property owners.

If you haven’t heard the interview with Councillor Stephen Blais on CBC Ottawa Morning on Friday, please take a listen.

Cheryle Houle
Navan Landowners Committee