No word on designation 0
There is still no new word on the state of efforts to get the Ottawa River specifically designated a Canadian Heritage River.
Andrea McNeil, manager of the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board Secretariat, Parks Canada, said as of today the application is still in the process of being reviewed. As it stands, the river has been nominated to be part of the Canadian Heritage River System.
She said as part of a nominated system, it does have the designation Canadian Heritage River.
The quest to have the Ottawa River named a heritage river began back in 2003, when it was led by the late Len Hopkins, former MP of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. The formal nomination, submitted in 2006, was approved by the Canadian Heritage Rivers board in 2008. The province of Ontario signed off on the designation in 2009. The nomination papers now sit in Ottawa awaiting the final sign off.
Current MP Cheryl Gallant has stated she will not sign off on the Ottawa River Heritage designation unless she gets absolute assurances land owners living in its vicinity will not be punished or lose their rights.
Since then, Renfrew County and other municipalities have passed resolutions calling on the federal government to push ahead with the designation anyway.
In 2011, development and property director Paul Moreau reported to the county the designation would not affect existing laws and all regulations and existing laws will continue to apply.
He said participation in the Canadian Heritage Rivers System is voluntary and participants will retain their traditional jurisdiction powers over rivers involved in the system, including ownership of land. It also states all participants will respect the rights and concerns of communities, Aboriginal peoples, land owners and other stakeholders.
County members who support the designation have pointed to the potential economic development and tourist boon it would represent.
Opponents of the designation, on the other hand, have stated if nothing would change, then why is there a need to make the historic designation official in the first place.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist