URGENT ACTION: Contact Ottawa City Council, Mayor, Domtar before October 8 rezoning decision on Chaudiere Islands

 

CALL TO ACTION FOLLOWS MAIN MESSAGE:

The Planning Committee hearing from one of the many people who spoke in opposition to the rezoning plans.
The Planning Committee hearing from one of the many people who spoke in opposition to the rezoning plans.

On Wednesday October 8th (meeting starts at 10:00am), Ottawa City Council will make their final decision on the rezoning application for Chaudiere and Albert Islands, giving the go ahead for condos, retail and office space to be built there by Windmill Development Group.

This follows the City Planning Committee meeting of October 2nd, where they heard from citizens who were overwhelmingly opposed to such a decision, who spoke of the sacredness of this to the Algonquin and other Anishinaabe peoples, and in support of Grandfather William Commanda’s vision for these islands, yet the committee unanimously went ahead and recommended the rezoning.

There will be no public input at Wednesday’s full council meeting, but you can contact your city councilor as well as the mayor in the lead-up to the meeting to voice your concerns.

As well, you can contact Domtar, who currently holds the land in question, and urge them facilitate its return to ensure the manifestation of the legacy vision of its rightful heir, late Alqonquin spiritual elder and leader Grandfather William Commanda.

The islands in question are envisioned to be public space, turned into parkland accessible to all, fitting with the sacred nature of the Chaudiere Falls / Asinabka site. This is part of William Commanda’s larger vision for the Chaudiere Falls and all the islands there.

Please consider voicing your support for Grandfather William Commanda’s vision, both to Ottawa City Council and to Domtar.

We note the historic and ongoing sacredness of this site for the Algonquin people, and all Anishinaabe peoples. It has been used for thousands of years as a place of prayer, and of coming together of peoples from many parts of this continent.

Now that the industry that has been built upon this site over the past 200 years is finished, why not return the site to its traditional spiritual use, honouring the ways of the First Peoples of this land?

Instead they are looking to give the go-ahead to private and commercial development at this site – is this truly the best way forward?

 
FOUR URGENT ACTIONS:

  • 2) Contact Domtar (President & CEO, Mr John D. Williams): information@domtar.com
  • 3) Public Consultation / workshop / site visit
    Tuesday October 7, between 4:30-8:00pm – click here for full details
    *Note: This is for other islands at Chaudiere Falls, not the two immediately under consideration for rezoning
  • 4) Invite your friends to the Facebook event to spread the word. Also share / email it or this post.
  • ALSO: if you would like to attend the Ottawa City Council meeting, it takes place Wednesday October 8th, starting at 10:00am, in Andrew S Haydon Hall at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave W.

 
BACKGROUND INFO / RESOURCES:

 
MEDIA COVERAGE FROM THE PLANNING COMMITTEE HEARING:

 

URGENT: Chaudière Falls & Islands sacred site – Proposed condominium rezoning hearing, City of Ottawa

URGENT: 4pm Wed Oct 1st deadline to register to speak or submit to the City of Ottawa Planning Committee, that is meeting Thurs Oct 2nd 9:30am at City Hall to consider a rezoning proposal for two of the islands in order to allow the Windmill condominium development

Overview of planning vision for Indigenous & Peace Centres on sacred islands at Chaudiere Falls.
Overview of vision for Indigenous & Peace Centres on sacred islands at Chaudiere Falls.

Continue reading / scrolling for registration instructions & background information, along with compelling new 10-min video of renowned Aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal.

The Planning Committee will decide upon a recommendation to put forward for voting on by the full City council on Oct 8th, but there will be no opportunity for public input at the Oct 8th meeting.

Giving the go-ahead to building condominiums on these islands would detrimentally impact the ability to achieve the full vision of the late Algonquin spiritual leader Grandfather William Commanda for this religious / sacred site.

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TO REGISTER: Contact Committee Coordinator, Christopher Zwierzchowski at 613-580-2424 extension 21359, in advance of the meeting, by at least 4:00 pm on Wednesday, to register to speak to the committee (presentations of 5 minutes maximum).

Or, you can email him a written submission, by the same deadline (or possibly anytime before midnight on Wed Oct 1st), at: christopher.zwierzchowski@ottawa.ca – also cc: hieu.nguyen@ottawa.ca

OF NOTE: If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at the public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Ottawa before the proposed official plan amendment is adopted or the zoning by-law is passed, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of the Council of the City of Ottawa to the Ontario Municipal Board.

ALSO: Call or email your local councillor, especially if they are on the Planning Committee, to express your concern. Members of the Planning Committee are: Peter Hume, chair; Jan Harder, vice-chair; Stephen Blais; Rainer Bloess; Rick Chiarelli; Catherine Hobbs; Allan Hubley; Bob Monette; Shad Qadri; Tim Tierney. Contact information for councillors is at: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-council

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION on Grandfather William Commanda’s vision for the Sacred Chaudière Site, and on the City’s rezoning proposal:

VIDEO – Architect Douglas Cardinal explaining things (link to watch on youtube)

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Regarding William Commanda’s Legacy Vision for the Sacred Chaudiere Site

June21doc-coanlogoJUNE 21, 2014 CIRCLE OF ALL NATIONS MESSAGE REGARDING WILLIAM COMMANDA’S LEGACY VISION FOR THE SACRED CHAUDIERE SITE – FROM ROMOLA V. THUMBADOO

Download the document here (25-pg pdf)

june21doc-gwcwwampumCONTENTS:

SECTION ONE – AN OPEN LETTER

  1. A Personal Preamble
  2. Open Letter on behalf of the Legacy Vision of Indigenous Spiritual Leader and Elder, Dr. William Commanda, OC, Carrier of the Sacred Wampum Belt Heritage

SECTION TWO – THE SACRED CHAUDIERE SITE AND VICTORIA ISLAND ISSUES PAPER – Key Information

  1. William Commanda – 11 November, 1913 – 3 August, 2011
  2. Sacred Cultural Heritage Site
  3. June21doc-overviewmapDevelopment of the Vision for the Sacred Chaudière Site
  4. The Sacred Chaudière Site and the vision and the commitment of three exemplary Indigenous rights leaders of international renown and relevance – William Commanda, Douglas Cardinal and Donald Marshall Junior
  5. Current Challenges
  6. A Critical Consideration – First Peoples/Canada Relations in 2014

SECTION THREE – THE LEGACY VISION FOR THE SACRED CHAUDIERE SITE

  1. Mandate
  2. The Core Vision (first presented in 2003)
  3. Critical Imperatives
  4. Expected Key Results

SECTION FOUR – AN INVITATION TO DREAM BIG TO SAFE GUARD AND ANIMATE THE LIVING LEGACY OF WILLIAM COMMANDA

  1. Blueprint for the future: William Commanda’s Legacy Vision for Asinabka in a Nutshell
  2. Recommendation/Exhortation

.

Download the document here (25-pg pdf)

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Wed Dec 11 – Public consultation on future of Chaudiere Falls islands / Domtar property

Photo © The Ottawa Citizen
Photo © The Ottawa Citizen

The proposed sale and development of islands at Chaudiere Falls could impact the possibility of the creation of the Asinabka National Indigenous Centre envisioned by late Algonquin leader Grandfather William Commanda.

Windmill Development Group is holding a public consultation on Wed Dec 11 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, with an open house from 5-9pm featuring bilingual presentations at 6pm and again at 7:30pm

You can attend to help put the Asinabka vision on the map!

The developers ask that you register in order to attend the consultation (which they are now also calling a ‘promo event’) at the bottom of this link: www.the-isles.ca

(Invite people on Facebook)

 

OFFICIAL NOTICE OF CONSULTATION FROM WINDMILL
http://www.windmilldevelopments.com/2013/12/windmill-hosts-community-consultation-for-domtar-lands/

 

INFO ON THE ASINABKA VISION
www.asinabka.com/
3min video: http://youtu.be/uFC6aSSmRs0
1-pg doublesided bilingual brochure for printing:
https://ipsmo.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/asinabka-bn-brochure-final-french-eng.pdf

Message from Romola, Grandfather Commanda’s assistant:
” I am also mindful of Grandfather’s words after he first met with Domtar in 2006/7 about freeing the dam, in face of their negative response: – ‘We are not going to fight with boxing gloves; we talk’ – and he ended by telling the dozen or so representatives, ‘I love you, my brothers.’
Thanks for your interest and support in this effort to protect the Sacred Chaudiere Falls for the public-at-large versus privatization interests. All the best.”

 

MEDIA ON WINDMILL DEVELOPMENT PLANS

[Kitigan Zibi Algonquin Chief Gilbert] Whiteduck told the Citizen on Monday that a long talked-about National Indigenous Centre on Victoria Island should be an integral part of redevelopment of the former Domtar lands.
“I don’t believe this project should go forward without the indigenous centre. It should be the jewel in the crown” of Ottawa riverfront redevelopment, he said.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Domtar+lands+proposal+must+miss+opportunity+Gatineau+mayor+says/9237977/story.html

An Ottawa development company is “days away” from a deal to buy and transform waterfront property that once housed the Domtar paper mill.
Windmill Developments said they’re very close to buying 37 acres of land on Chaudière Island, with a plan to build a sustainable community they’re calling Les Isles.
A letter of intent from July said Windmill’s plan is to “reinvent a historically rich industrial space into a vibrant, world-class, sustainable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development” that’s sensitive to the island’s history.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/chaudière-waterfront-redevelopment-deal-days-away-1.2447035

 

In Commemoration of Grandfather William Commanda and Jack Layton

Dear Friends,

This past month, two well-known people in our community – Grandfather William Commanda and Jack Layton – along with many more unknown heroes around the globe, went to the Spirit world. It is sad time for us but we know that they are in a peaceful place now. We send our love and prayer to all of their relatives and wish them strength to continue the work of these two men and countless others for peace. Grandfather and Jack had very different world views but they both spent most of their life working for their people. It is an honour to work for the people.

Photo Credit: Charline Dequincey

Grandfather William Commanda, the respectful spiritual leader of the Algonquin Nation, passed away on the morning of August 3. He would be 98 years old on November 11 this year! Ojigkwanong is the name his mother gave to him because he was born under the morning star. Even though Grandfather isn’t here physically with us anymore, he, like the morning star, will always look after us and lead us in a good way. We, the folks at this small grassroots group called IPSMO, had the honour to meet Grandfather three years ago.  Grandfather was one of our very first supporters for our work trying to learn and act in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

On March 3, 2009, we had our first big event in the National Library and Archive. We screened the documentary “Invisible Nation – The Story of The Algonquin” and had Grandfather open the event for us. His Granddaughter, Claudette Commanda, was our special guest speaker. Grandfather’s presence was a big reason why close to 500 people showed up, overflowing the auditorium’s seating capacity and requiring the setting up of a second screen in the foyer! It was a big success and we did what we intended to do – creating an opportunity for native and non-native peoples, who’ve been separated by colonial measures like the reserve system, to get to know each other.

Six months later, Grandfather surprised us by coming to another big event we held – The Epidemic of Continuing Violence Against Indigenous Women, to raise fund for Maisy Odjick’s family. Maisy and her friend Shannon Alexander, both from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, went missing on Sept 6, 2008.

And at the beginning of this year he was active in supporting the efforts to protect the Beaver Pond Forest and South March Highlands in Kanata.

Grandfather has inspired us and many others. He taught us about forgiveness. It was hard to understand at first how he could forgive after so many years of colonization by the white settlers. But now, we understand: it is only through forgiveness, the white settlers / colonizers can have a way out of white guilt for what they have done to Native peoples.  It is only through forgiveness, the white settlers can have the chance to transcend their guilt and start their decolonization process, and the Natives can get a possibility for co-existence.

Please read here for more: http://bit.ly/GWC-passing and for a tribute from Organizing For Justice, including links to many media articles: https://organizingforjustice.ca/?p=623

Photo Credit: Mark Barber

Jack Layton, another respectful man, passed away on the morning of August 22.  We did not know him well, to be honest. But, at our recent direct action to support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in front of the Minister of Indian Affairís office on a cold December day, he surprised us by showing up and speaking to the crowd in support of Barriere Lake’s inherent right to self-determination and customary governance. We thank him and respect him for his support for Indigenous rights and other social justice issues. RIP Jack.

To continue the legacy of these two great men and countless others, please continue supporting our solidarity work.  Here is how:

CALL FOR SUPPORT: ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have been forced into a costly legal battle with Canada to protect their land rights. They cannot succeed without your support.

Please donate! You can either make checks out to “Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa” with “Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund” in the memo line, or through PayPal – http://bit.ly/barrierelake.  Everything counts. Please give what you can.

For details on Barriere Lakeís legal battle and where to mail your cheque, please go to our previous post: https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/barriere-lake-legal-defense-fund.

In solidarity,

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa
On Unceded and Unsurrendered Algonquin Territory

Sacred Fire for Beaver Pond Forest starts Wed in Toronto

Media Release ~~ February 8, 2011 ~~ For Immediate Release

SACRED FIRE WILL BURN AT QUEEN’S PARK FOR OTTAWA’S SOUTH MARCH HIGHLANDS

(Toronto) Daniel Amikwabe Bernard, Algonquin Firekeeper, will keep a Sacred Fire burning at Queen’s Park from Wednesday 9th to Sunday 13th February to urge the province to halt tree-clearing and to promote understanding about Ottawa’s most important ecological and cultural heritage area.

The South March Highlands is one of the most bio-diverse areas remaining in urban Canada, with more than 675 different species of life, including 240 species of wildlife and over 134 different types of nesting birds.

For the past year local citizens, environmentalists and First Nations groups representing over 14,000 people have mounted a vigorous campaign to save undeveloped lands in the 10,000-year-old, ecologically unique, South March Highlands.  In the 1970s it was protected as a Natural Environmental Area but urban development has steadily eroded it until less than 1/3rd remains protected.  Citizens have actively opposed development since 1981 because the South March Highlands is an old-growth forest having the densest bio-diversity in Ottawa and provides critical habitat for 20 species-at-risk.

In the latest assault on the forest, KNL Developments recently began clear-cutting trees for a subdivision in an area known locally as the Beaver Pond Forest, even though development depends on planned water diversions without Environmental Assessment and a questionable archaeological study.

The principal Algonquin Spiritual Elder, Grandfather William Commanda, Ancestral Carrier of the 3 Sacred Wampum Belts, Officer of the Order of Canada, recognized as a spiritual leader and founder of the Circle of All Nations, considers the South March Highlands to be Sacred and sees this as an opportunity to renew our sustainable relationship with Mother Earth.

Algonquin across the Ottawa River Watershed in both Ontario and Quebec have called for a comprehensive archaeological assessment of the area.  KNL’s archaeological study was accepted by the Ministry of Culture in 2004 despite being described as ‘fatally flawed’ by Dr. Robert McGhee, past president of the Canadian Archaeological Association.  A review of the KNL study by Groupe de recherche archéologique de l’Outaouais (GRAO) led by Marcel LaLiberté, concurred that the area “can no longer be ignored as of low archaeological potential”.

In addition to questioning many irregularities in development approvals, the Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands has put forward creative proposals for stewardship of the South March Highlands that the City of Ottawa and the Provincial Ministries of Environment (MoE), Natural Resources (MNR), Culture (MTC), Aboriginal Affairs (MAA) and Municipal Affairs (MMHA) have to-date declined to discuss.

“We are also asking why the MNR has yet to confirm the area as a provincially- significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest despite the fact it was recommended for that designation in 1992, and why the MMHA has yet to enforce the Provincial Policy Statement that prevents development in ecologically significant areas such as ANSI candidates,” says Paul Renaud, of the Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands.

“We are asking why the MoE is allowing development to proceed without Environmental Assessments and why the MAA has yet to uphold the Canadian Constitution which requires the Crown to consult and accommodate the interests of First Nations,” adds Renaud.

Starting Wednesday, a Sacred Fire will burn as a beacon of hope within the provincial capital to promote understanding and to request support from the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, to issue a Ministerial Order to halt the clear-cutting, in light of the two independent archaeological reviews, and the discovery of potentially significant sites since the 2004 MTC approval.

In an unprecedented recognition of aboriginal religious practices by the Provincial Legislature, permission has been granted to keep the Sacred Fire burning day and night. The Sacred Fire is an altar for prayer and visitors are invited to approach respectfully and spend time with the Firekeeper to learn more about the South March Highlands and to discuss our relationship with Mother Earth.

On Sunday, February 13th, the Sacred Fire will go out at mid-day.  There will be Closing ceremonies, with drumming, prayers, and singing, a message from Grandfather William Commanda, and from other First Nations elders and chiefs.  Everyone is invited to join with us regardless of religion, race, or culture.

PLEASE NOTE:  There is a protocol regarding filming and photography at the Sacred Fire and media are kindly asked to speak with the Firekeeper before recording or photographing.

-30-

The Sacred Fire will be directly in front of the Provincial Legislature at Queen’s Park.

For more information:

Daniel Amikwabe Bernard – 416-876-3051

Liaison for Daniel Bernard: Peter Haresnape, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Aboriginal Justice Team – 647-838-8455 or office 416-423-5525

Paul Renaud, Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands  —  613-277-5898

Background Info:

UPDATE:

On the morning of Tues Feb 8th, approximately 20 community members staged an action in the forest, surrounding the cutting machines and temporarily preventing them from further destroying the forest:

Thurs 13 Jan noon – Save Ottawa’s old-growth forest Rally!

Protect the Beaver Pond Forest in Kanata


We demand the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Province of Ontario to hold the development of the Beaver Pond Forest!

The Beaver Pond Forest is on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Territory.  All level of the government – the City of Ottawa, the NCC and the Province of Ontario must respect the requests of the Algonquin First Nation communities as well as the local Ottawa community to do a full archeological assessment of possible medicine wheels and artifacts dated back 10,000 years ago.

~~ RALLY! ~~

Noon, Thurs Jan 13
Meet at the Human Rights Monument, Elgin at Lisgar, next to City Hall

GOAL

This is a rally to demand that the City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission (NCC), and the Province of Ontario step up and do their job: order Urbandale Corporations and KNL Development Inc. not to clear-cut or blast any of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring when an archaeological assessment can be re-done.

This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural, spiritual and humane reasons. All levels of government could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But none is taking responsibility. So we are taking action to remind them to do their jobs and make the City of Ottawa a better place to live, for us now and for future generations.

PLAN for Thurs Jan 13:

  • 12pm (noon): Assemble at the Human Rights Monument at corner of Lisgar & Elgin, next to City Hall
  • Bring your own signs, we also have some made which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show (first come, first served 😉
  • statements will be read, letters delivered, songs shared. We will march to the NCC Office at 40 Elgin Street, past their Info Ctr across from, Parliament Hill, and end back at City Hall. Exact schedule TBA.
  • Be musical (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
  • Main Message to City Hall, NCC, & Province: Take Responsibility! Do the Right Thing: Save Beaver Pond Forest!

MORE INFO

“Some twelve thousand years ago the South March Highlands where the Beaver Pond Forest is found was an island surrounded by the waters of the ice age created Champlain Sea. As the water receded, a rich and fertile land renewed its relationship with the winds. The birds, insects, animals and people living on the highlands at that time carried the seeds of trees and also pollen of the islandís plant life further and further into their ever-widening territory.” – Algonquin elder Albert Dumont

Now the developers are set to destroy the forest in order to build a subdivision. The commencement of destruction is immanent – we need to take a stand NOW!

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

A letter from Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, to the relevant public officials: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/Site/Algonquin_Information.html

Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm waster management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress/?p=716

TAKE ACTION:

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca
Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer of NCC,
marie.lemay@ncc-ccn.ca
Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, mchan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Peter Evans, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister for Culture,
Peter.Evans@ontario.ca
Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, cbentley.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Gordon O’Connor, Federal Cabinet Minister and MP for Kanata,
oconng@parl.gc.ca
Norm Sterling, MPP for Kanata, norm.sterlingco@pc.ola

Also write to the developers to hold the development of the Beaver Pond Forest and do a full archeological assessment of that area:
Urbandale: mjarvis@urbandale.com 613-731-6331http://urbandale.com/corp
Richcraft: info@richcraft.com – 613-739-7111 – http://richcraft.com

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

Join the network to help protect this precious land:
– email info@ottawasgreatforest.com and ask to stay updated
– or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=46087029890

UPDATES

Any updates will be on the FB Event page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155983114454420 and at http://candle4kindness.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/save-beaver-pond-forest-rally-at-city-hall-13-january-noon/