Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present a petition that is rather urgent. It comes from residents of the Ottawa area, and it relates to the decision by the City of Ottawa to build the new Civic Hospital on the grounds of Queen Juliana Park. I wish I could do justice to the petition, but I have to summarize.
Queen Juliana Park was established in the city in honour of the 7,600 Canadians who died in the liberation of the Netherlands, and of course in honour of Queen Juliana, the Dutch queen. Now 750 mature canopy trees are slated to be removed from this park. It is literally from a Joni Mitchell song: They are going to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Acres and acres of prime forest area, important biodiversity, are to be removed.
More than 8,000 Canadians have signed a different petition prompted by Change.org. The petitioners are very concerned that due process was not followed and consultations with the public were abbreviated.
Previous consultations had pointed to a different location. The National Capital Commission had recommended that the hospital be built on land at Tunney’s Pasture.
To summarize, the petitioners call for the original recommendation of the National Capital Commission to be reinstated as the ideal site to preserve Queen Juliana Park and the entire Central Experimental Farm as green spaces. The panel, which was composed of numerous luminaries, recommended a public inquiry, to be led by the Province of Ontario, on why the NCC site recommendation was so quickly and secretly set aside.