Put communism memorial somewhere else: Nussbaum (Emma Jackson, Ottawa East News)

Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum is wading into the debate over a planned memorial to victims of communism, asking the federal government to put it somewhere else.

The rookie councillor will introduce a motion at the end of the month that would formally request the Harper government relocate its memorial somewhere other than between the Supreme Court and Library and Archives buildings on Wellington Street, where it’s currently approved to go.

The memorial’s winning design proposes a huge cement complex described as “a solemnly rising modern concrete sculpture,” which maxes out at nine metres high.

Nussbaum said he doesn’t have a problem with honouring victims of communism, but he does take issue with the federal government erasing 60-year-old plans to build a third federal court building on that spot.

“I personally think it’s important to be respectful in terms of the use of that site and of that long term plan,” Nussbaum said.

He has the support of the mayor -- Jim Watson has been vocal about his opposition to the location, which he said will blight the landscape.

“We’re not taking sides as to whether we need a victims of communism monument, but the location takes away really from the streetscape that has been thought about and developed in consultation over the past several decades,” Watson said after council on May 13.

He reiterated the need for public input.

“My hope is we continue to garner support and the government will sit down and have a proper consultation about where that memorial should go,” he said.

The NCC approved the site for the memorial in 2012, although it had originally proposed putting it several hundred metres down the road in the Garden of Provinces and Territories. That wasn’t prominent enough for the private group Tribute to Liberty, which has been spearheading the project and ran the monument’s design competition.

The city is not the first to speak out against the project’s scope and location. Backlash across the country has been growing since the winning design was announced last December.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada denounced it this winter, along with the Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, NDP MP Paul Dewar and countless residents.

The Tribute to Liberty website said construction of the monument’s wall of remembrance will begin “in early 2015.”

Source: Ottawa East News