NCC Watch

Working to consign the NCC to oblivion

Search string: "mountain bikers"

Matches found: 4

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Misinformation and regressive management practices"

The Gatineau Park News blog has a transcript of a rock climber info session put on by the Climber's Coalition and presented by Eric Grenier. It lays out pretty clearly why user groups form and the challenges of dealing with the indifferent bureaucracy that is the NCC:

Back in 2005, the NCC attempted to ban climbing on the escarpment altogether. The Coalition was formed at that time.

Yes, step 1 in forming a group is for the NCC to ban an activity. Dog owners and mountain bikers are nodding their heads at this point.

Despite the fact that the NCC claims to be engaged in a process where community involvement is at work and where user input is valued, that hasn't been what we've noticed happen over the last couple of years.

[...] they're proposing to limit climbing access to the Twin Ribs, so Copacabana and Down Under, Eastern Block, and Home Cliff West, which is the Main Corner and the Peggy area. That's all the climbing that they are willing to allow on the Eardley Escarpment. Mostly the reasoning is that these are the areas that are already most affected.

In addition to this, they are also proposing to ban ice climbing, citing as justification some regulations regarding winter use trails being prohibited. Additionally, they've also already started to implement some of these initiatives that they have developed based on the recommendations in the park.

A lot of you are probably aware that the hang-gliding parking area has already been closed. A culvert's been dug, and there is no access to that parking lot anymore. They state that that parking lot was disused.

Obviously anyone who's actually been there knows that that parking lot and overflowing every weekend. They've done this without any consultation to anyone. It was a surprise when this happened. People just showed up and were wondering what was going on.

So that's the situation as it stands today. Essentially, the NCC seems to be just going ahead with whatever they've decided to do based on recommendations of a consultant in a process that hasn't had any meaningful input from the community.

[...]It's clear that the NCC doesn't understand what climbers are looking for in terms of recreational experience. It's clear from information in the report that they don't have any experience managing climbing activities. They don't have any expert knowledge on climbing. Some of the conclusions they've drawn are based on the impacts of climbing that they perceive seem to be related to climbing practices that are decades out of date.

So we have a lot of issues with what we don't know about the NCC's plans and what the NCC doesn't know about climbing.

In addition, there's been a very large disconnect in terms of how they've been interacting with the community. They, like I mentioned, they claim to have a transparent and community involved process and that simply hasn't borne out to be the case.

We're getting dictated to based on misinformation and regressive management practices that really aren't defensible in terms of any modern management that they bring us.

So our position, essentially then, is that the process hasn't happened. The process that needs to happen to develop proper climbing access management in the Gatineau Park simply hasn't happened. Nothing that the NCC has shown us demonstrates that they've been willing to actually engage in a meaningful process with us despite claims to the contrary.

Plus ça change.

Gatineau Park News: Monday's rock climber info session [21 Apr 2010]
Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers' Access Coalition
Climber's Coalition News: Just heard on CBC [23 Apr 2010]
Climber's Coalition News: Update [18 May 2010]
NCC Watch: Dog archive
NCC Watch: Champlain Bridge

Monday, July 28, 2008

National parks cost too much

So apparently making Gatineau Park into a national park would cost a lot more than keeping it as an informal park for all Canadians:

Turning Gatineau Park into a national park managed by Parks Canada would cost taxpayers a "significantly more" [sic] each year than the amount being spent on the park now by the National Capital Commission, says a government memo obtained by CBC News.

"Simply transferring the operating budget for the Park from the NCC to Parks Canada would not be sufficient," said the document dated April 21 obtained through an access to information request.

[...]The document was written by Parks Canada CEO Alan Latourelle in response to calls from activists with the Canadian Park and Wilderness Society [sic] to transform Gatineau Park, which is mostly owned by the federal government, into a national park.

The predicted higher costs under Parks Canada management are caused by the standards that national parks must meet under guidelines set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, including maintaining the "ecological integrity" of the park.

The memo said maintaining the ecological integrity of Gatineau Park would be a challenge due to the increasing roads and private property in and around the park and growing demands by users such as mountain bikers and snowmobile clubs.

How much more they don't say. The price of building a freeway through the park, perhaps?

McConnell-Laramee freeway

CBC: Gatineau Park would cost 'significantly more' as national park [28 July 2008]

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Gatineau Park users take aim at NCC

The NCC heard from the public at its presentation of its latest Gatineau Park master plan. The plan calls for more user fees, less car traffic and more conservation areas to help preserve the park's ecosystems. In the process they will be banning or curtailing, somewhat arbitrarily, climbers and snowmobilers. This continues a trend of scapegoating park users, including mountain bikers, to distract from the NCC's own failures in managing the park. The NCC is, after all, planning to build a freeway through it, and recently finished building the Mackenzie King Estate access road in what was, for the NCC, record time.

Citizen: Gatineau Park users take aim at NCC [28 Oct 2004]

Thursday, July 26, 2000

NCC causes more problems on trails than bikers

Mountain bikers are tired of being scapegoated by the NCC for trail problems caused by the NCC themselves, as this letter in the Citizen suggests:

Once again Gatineau Park director Jean-Rene Goyon and the closed circle of park administrators, have singled out mountain bikes as causing the deterioration of the trails in the park ("Protecting Ottawa's back yard." July 20).

The National Capital Commission has consistently tried to perpetuate the myth that mountain biking is causing all of the erosion while it has not publicly acknowledged the impact from any other user group.

The real reason for most trail problems is the inadequate or inappropriate maintenance of summer trails. The Citizen article fails to mention the NCC's use of tracked machinery to dig ditches along the Fortune Lane trail or the continual use of four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles to drag old telephone poles through the bush near Pine Road.

The heavy-handed approach to trail maintenance causes more problems than any pedestrian or bicycle traffic. The NCC spends a considerable amount of effort to meticulously maintain the trails for cross-county skiing, but it seemingly makes very little effort on maintenance for summer use. Virtually all the problems can be avoided with some basic trail-building techniques.

[...]Programs, such as co-operative trail maintenance with mountain bike groups, trail rotations, appropriate routing and trail maintenance have not been employed by Gatineau Park officials.

Citizen: Stop portraying mountain bikers as enemies of the wilderness [26 Jul 2000]