Premier Charest: Call 'Time-Out' on A5 HWY Extension
OTTAWA – Sierra Club Canada has joined with local Wakefield residents, Gatineau Park protectors, and large and small environmental groups in a call on Premier Jean Charest to temporarily halt construction of the A5 highway extension project near Wakefield village. At stake are 88 acres of old growth forest and the drinking water of thousands of people.
"The cumulative negative impacts of roads on species and ecosystem integrity are evident across the country, and it is the job of government to ensure every action is taken to minimize such impacts," said John Bennett, Executive Director. "It would appear this did not happen in the Wakefield case," he said.
Apart from two very short online public comment periods, there has been no active effort by MTQ to consult with local area residents since the original environmental assessment was conducted over 25 years ago in 1987.
A panel of scientific experts has since concluded the original environmental assessment to be seriously flawed and out of date. A 2010 Transport Canada environmental screening report (based on the original EA) concluded underground aquifers to be at risk of contamination from rock blasting.
"When you have people being hospitalized for hypothermia from occupying treetops in the middle of winter you know government has mismanaged the public consultation process," said Mr. Bennett. "At this late stage, only a moratorium can create the window needed for constructive dialogue and compromise."
The A5 extension from Chelsea to Farm Point, through some 75 acres of Gatineau Park, scheduled for completion in 2013, would continue as planned.
People are being urged to contact Premier Charest immediately to support the moratorium.
This big pine tree, that is believed to be 300-years-old,
was cut down this morning on Brown Lake Road.
For more information:
John Bennett, Executive Director, Sierra Club Canada, 613-291-6888, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Winship, 819- 459-4452
Jean-Paul Murray 819- 827-1803
Hwy 5 UPDATE: 300-year-old tree cut down, all protesters arrested
The LowDown Online Newspaper (March 1, 2012)