City steps up opposition to victims of communism memorial (Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen)

THE CITY APPEARS TO BE TAKING STEPS TO FORMALIZE ITS OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED LOCATION OF THE MEMORIAL TO THE VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM.

A day after Defence Minister Jason Kenney told an audience at a city hall breakfast event that the completed site on Wellington Street will be “more like a park” once the monument is built, Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum informed his fellow councillors that he plans to move a motion at the next council meeting to formally request that the federal government relocate the proposed memorial.

The government’s current plan would see the memorial built on a 5,000-square-metre site on Wellington Street southwest of the Supreme Court, with the help of $3 million in taxpayer support.

Nussbaum says the federal government’s long-term vision for completing the so-called judicial triad — which includes the Supreme Court, Justice building and the future construction of a new Federal Court of Canada building — should be respected.

“That’s something that the City of Ottawa has bought into. I feel it’s important that the city express its view that the principles of that plan ought to be protected,” he said.

The city joins others, including the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and the Ontario Association of Architects, in expressing concern that the proposed location for the memorial will violate the guiding principles of the government’s plan, particularly those of symbolic primacy and heritage value, Nussbaum says.

“The proposed site is not appropriate given the fact that it violates these key principles of a plan which has had buy-in from a range of stakeholders for over 60 years,” he said.

And it appears Mayor Jim Watson, who has previously spoken out about the monument, agrees.

“This was a decision that was made and, to the best of my knowledge, there was no public consultation or input from residents or the city or architecture groups,” Watson said.

“I think there’s a better location that will not take away from the landscape and the sight lines of the Supreme Court. My hope is that we’ll continue to garner support, that the government will sit down and have a proper public consultation as to where that monument should go.”

But Kenney expressed a different view on Tuesday.

“I think it’s suitable to have it in a high-profile location … It’s strongly supported by Canadian ethno-cultural communities representing some eight million Canadians who trace their roots to that kind of oppression. I think it’s very important we not minimize that kind of remembrance.”

“I’d rather have a park on that lawn with a monument at the back of it as a public space as opposed to yet another downtown office tower.”

Source: Ottawa Citizen