Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NCC Public Consultation - Sept 15

I just received the information below from the NCC regarding a public consultation workshop on recreation in the Gatineau Park. This is rather late notice, as registration is 'encouraged' by Thursday. I will go, and I encourage everyone else who wants a say in the future of the Park to do the same.

Public Workshop: Have your say about recreational activities in Gatineau Park!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

6:30 pm to 9 pm

Relais plein air du parc de la Gatineau

397 Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes

Gatineau, Quebec

As this consultation will take the form of a workshop, registration is encouraged.

Please register by September 10, 2009, by contacting Emily Keogh at 613-239-5315 or

The second and last phase of consultation will take place in spring 2010, and will focus on proposals regarding modifications to infrastructure and activities.

For more information:


podictionary said...

I'll be going too (Charles Hodgson) and I'll post a summary of what goes on at

I've also opened a discussion group for those who can't go to post questions etc. that I'll try to take to the workshop. That discussion group is at

Mike A said...

Thanks Matt, you had some great insight in your previous writings. Lets hope the NCC is actually open to listen !

Rob Young said...

Did you end up going to this? I haven't seen any write ups about it. Was it productive?

Matt Surch said...

Rob, and others wondering about the consultation:

How did it go? Pretty well, I think. The discussion was fairly 'high level,' in that it was centred on the (power point) strategic framework they have available online. This 'deck,' as we government nerds call them, covers the policy context/assessment, presents vision and mission statements and core principles. This is all very vague and at times ambiguous 'language,' which is intentional, as it affords the most flexibility possible in the implementation of the mission toward the vision.

So, many of the attendees pointed to the high level nature of the presentation as lacking the specificity required to support any sort of meaningful discussion. The quote of the night: 'The devil is in the details.' This is especially true in relation to the aspects of the plan that implicate sport activities such as mountain biking. Two principles of the plan are accessibility and 'discovery.' The way these concepts are articulated in the plan is fairly prescriptive; that is, there is a pretty distinct bias toward a vision of the 'right' use of the Park. This 'right' use is reduced to that which can be experienced by all Canadians in the same way (accessibility); where all must be able to 'discover' certain sociocultural goods (history, ecology, etc) in their recreation within the Park.

This is a distilled account of the issues that stuck for me. It might not come as a surprise that many attendees voiced concern about the marginalization of sport activities implicit in the plan. Where is sport in this vision of recreation? This was a recurring question. Another resounding recommendation from attendees was the banning of cars, or at least restriction of access, on the Parkway. Heather and Jeff's group suggested reducing the traffic to one way, an idea we've discussed here on the blog. This was a new idea to many folks, and received with cheers.

You might wonder what the NCC's main objective is in this plan. It seems to be a significant reduction in user conflicts. So far, on the road, they have attempted to reduce user conflicts by policing cyclists. Yes, I am aware that they claim not to have played a part in the RCMP's crackdown, but few of us believe that. Not much hinges on this. WHat counts is whether the NCC has any will to shift the focus to reduction of car traffic. The plan has an explicit 'greening transport' aspect, and reducing car access is clearly an option. This would reduce conflicts and mitigate GHG emissions associated with PArk use. A shuttle bus service, a la Stanley PArk in Vancouver, could work rather nicely. Why not double deckers in the fall for the leaf lookers? Cyclists take their life into their hands in the fall on the Parkway as drivers pay attention to everything but the road.

Another attempt at reducing user conflicts will be the marginalization, literally, of mountain bike access. The NCC wants to push mtb to 'less sensitive' zones around the periphery of the park. This might prove a good move. It would be very good if some of the traffic was shifted from the current legal trails to other presently illegal trails where hikers are seldom found. Singletracks are also ridden at far slower speeds compared to the legal stuff. This is safer, hands down. We are tracking these developments. I can't comment on some of the plans going on behind the scenes I have been made aware of, but will spill it as soon as I can.