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Issue No. 242 | July 3, 2015

1. Appeal for Financial Support: Legal Action to Move the Memorial To the Victims of Communism
Move the Monument Coalition

On June 26, 2015, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Heritage Ottawa, and architects Barry Padolsky and Shirley Blumberg filed an application in the Federal Court. They are challenging the National Capital Commission’s decision to break ground for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism on a site in Ottawa’s Judicial Precinct, just southwest of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Government's approved Long Term Vision and Plan includes the vision of completing a harmonious "triad" within the judicial precinct by erecting a new Federal Court building on the site—not a Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

The lawsuit alleges that the National Capital Commission violated its procedures for public consultation and acted agaed against the National Capital Act in its hasty decision to prepare the site, despite not having finalized the design for the memorial. The law requires meaningful public consultation and prohibits breaking ground on a project before its design is approved.

The Applicants do not oppose the commemorative intent of the memorial and believe that other appropriate sites exist.

Donations are being accepted in support of this legal action:

To send donations by Paypal, please use the following link:

Cheques can be sent to Champ & Associates, 43 Florence Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0W6, made out to “Champlaw, In Trust” with “Move the Memorial” in the memorandum line or in an accompanying letter.

Donations can also be sent directly by electronic bank transfer to , with an explanation in the message that it is for Move the Memorial.

They are encouraging supporters to sign the petition:

You can also follow news coverage and join the discussion at Facebook

We are pleased to include you among the national coalition of groups and individuals asking the government to move the Memorial to the Victims of Communism to a more appropriate site.

Please circulate this appeal to others in your network—and thank you again for your support.

2. Canada Day Fireworks (NOT) in Bala Falls--Public Events Prohibited by Hydro Developer in Public Park
Catherine Nasmith

Margaret Burgess Park, Photo Liz Lundell
From the Moon River, Liz Lundell photo

For 5 years the Moon River Property Owners Association MROPA has held a summer picnic in Bala to celebrate life on the Moon River on the weekend closest to Canada Day. The event includes a big Canada Day cake, games and just generally hanging out with neighbours. The event was scheduled for July 4, but has been cancelled.

Two days before the event was scheduled to go ahead, and all arrangements had been made, Swift River Energy Limited (SREL), the company who is the proponent for the hydro project at the Bala Falls sent a notice to the organizers telling them they don’t have permission to use Margaret Burgess Park in this way, and that if they do the OPP will be called in and picnicers arrested for trespassing. Are you kidding me you might ask? It’s a public park??

So far no one can answer how it is that SREL can claim such control over public access to the provincially owned, but municipally run park next to the North Bala Falls.

Members of Save the Bala Falls who will also be holding a FUNdraiser in Bala this Saturday, have been warned they can’t wear their red t shirts in Don’s Bakery, for fear the landlords will evict the long standing business for supporting a cause.

It gets worse. On Friday, July 3, at a special meeting of Muskoka Lakes Council to deal with a routine planning matter that was being treated on an emergency basis; in spite of a standing room only audience of angry, largely grey and white-haired booing ratepayers who were looking forward to a little fun at the falls and wanted a chance to hear from their Council what was going on -- two motions to hear deputations regarding public access to Margaret Burgess park were defeated.

The meeting was recessed twice by Mayor Don Furness.

The crowd took advantage of the breaks to read their deputations to each other….from MROPA,

“As in previous years, we have a huge Canadian flag birthday cake and cupcakes and ice cream. We invite the entire community, have music, and last year our MP Tony Clement attended and played his guitar. And we sang along. We stand tall as we sing ‘Oh Canada’ to honour our ‘true north strong and free’.

It is a fun, family-oriented, free event. All are invited and welcome. There are no politics, no issues, and no fundraising -- other than asking people to bring a non-perishable food item, which we donate to the West Muskoka food bank.” Sounds pretty dangerous to me!

The group will be out of pocket and wanted answers, but there were none forthcoming.

ACO Muskoka has also asked permission for a picnic on August 8 with tours of local heritage sites, they also want to know how or whether SREL can rescind permission already sought and agreed to by local officials. 

At the end of the lone item on the agenda, the Mayor adjourned the meeting, having called the OPP in case this aged crowd really got ugly….The crowd stood and sang Oh Canada as the Mayor stormed out the back entrance to the Council chamber. By the time the anthem was done an OPP officer was at the door, and another cruiser pulling into the parking lot. Sensibly, no arrests!

Sad, comic, ridiculous but it really happened.

Picnicers are a danger to public safety in Bala, Ontario. Really??

3. Save the Bala Falls: Public Appeal for Funds for Legal Challenge

If you are able to send a small or large donation to Save the Bala Falls for their legal challenge, use the link below.

Click here for Link

4. Huffington Post: Film and Article on Bala Falls Hydro
Rob Stewart

The Bala Falls Hydroelectric Plant Is a Moral Injustice

As a child fascinated with animals, the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario was magical. It was the place I visited every summer to catch frogs and turtles--beautiful tea-coloured lakes, home to monster-sized pike and trout that captured my imagination. My parents would take me to Bala, the town we most often visited, so I could peruse the bait shop to look for interesting minnows sold as bait and eat ice cream. I swam in the lakes, scoured the fields for snakes, and played in the Bala Falls.

The town of Bala was built around the Bala Falls--a site of historic significance and stunning natural beauty. When I found myself walking through Bala with a friend in the summer of 2014, it was only natural that we ended up there. The scene was much as I remembered it--children splashing into the water; couples stopping to admire the view; and at the heart of it all, the glittering arc of the falls--but there was a difference: a permanent-looking campsite set up on the Bala Falls portage.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:The video will give you a first hand sense of why Friday's Muskoka Lakes Council meeting was so crazy.

5. Globe and Mail: NCC Gives Go Ahead to Decontaminate Court Site
Bill Curry

Preparation work to start on Ottawa monument to victims of communism

Preparation work to start on Ottawa monument to victims of communism
Ottawa — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 25, 2015 1:30PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Jun. 26, 2015 5:16AM EDT


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Digging will begin this summer in preparation for the construction of a monument to victims of communism after the National Capital Commission board voted to start work on the controversial project.

The vote to decontaminate the site next to the Supreme Court of Canada passed 6-3 with the majority overruling NCC board chair Russell Mills.

“I voted against it primarily because I think it’s premature to start the decontamination before we have an actual approved design,” Mr. Mills told reporters later.

The motion passed thanks in part to three new board members who were appointed to cabinet just ahead of the meeting, prompting criticism that the Conservative government stacked the Crown corporation with supporters in order to get its way. Two other new board members announced this week won’t start until July 1.

The project has attracted controversy in part because the government wants it built on a highly visible site that Parliament had previously approved for a new Federal Court building.

Click here for Link

6. Globe and Mail: Legal Challenge to NCC decision on Victims of Communism Monument
Bill Curry

Coalition launches legal challenge over anti-communism memorial work

The battle over the memorial to victims of communism is heading to Federal Court after a coalition of architects and heritage advocates launched a legal challenge.

The move comes a day after the board of the National Capital Commission, a Crown corporation, voted 6-3 to allow Public Works to start digging up the planned site to decontaminate the soil.

In Ottawa, the north side of Confederation Boulevard, which includes the Houses of Parliament, the Supreme Court of Canada – and soon, possibly, a Memorial to the Victims of Communism, shown here in an artist's sketch.

The legal challenge claims this goes against a provision of the National Capital Act that states work can’t begin on a project until it has received final approval from the board.


Click here for Link

7. CBC: Opposition to Communism Monument Seek Injunction

Architecture, heritage groups file lawsuit over communism memorial

Federal lawsuit alleges National Capital Commission violated its own consultation process

Heritage and architecture supporters have banded together to file a federal lawsuit against the proposed memorial to victims of communism, one day after the National Capital Commission unveiled plans for a smaller, less-intrusive version of the controversial monument.

RELATED: NCC reveals plans for smaller, shorter memorial for victims of communism
The lawsuit is being sought by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, who had previously spoken out against the monument, as well as local group Heritage Ottawa and architects Barry Padolsky and Shirley Blumberg.

Click here for Link

8. Globe and Mail: Hamilton Revival
Dave Le Blanc

Abandoned Hamilton knitting mill reveals potential for new chapters


It’s a weekend morning in Hamilton. Hard sunlight bounces off a few slow-moving automobiles – even boom-boom stereos are dialled down – and pedestrians are sparse. Most are still inside making plans for errands, relaxation, or just going with the flow.

Morning is, after all, a wonderful time that’s pregnant with possibility.

It’s true also for a tired, five-building complex on Cannon Street East in Beasley, a working-class neighbourhood named after Richard Beasley (1761-1842), and one of the places from which this steel-proud city grew. Because, today, while the former Chipman-Holton Knitting Co. sits trapped in amber – although much equipment is gone, it’s easy to feel the presence of the generations that worked here – it readies itself for a wonderful new future.


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9. The Record: Could the Loss of the Mayfair Been Prevented?
Catherine Thompson

Is Kitchener learning from its heritage preservation mistakes?

"Cultural heritage resources are non-renewable, and once lost cannot be regained." — City of Kingston

KITCHENER — As the dust settles from the demolition of the former Mayfair Hotel, and the last bricks from the 1905 building are carted away, many residents wonder at Kitchener's legacy of protecting heritage.

During city council deliberations over the fate of the Mayfair, many still mourned the loss of Kitchener's 1924-built city hall, and the demolition of others: the quirky Barra Castle on Queen Street, the Lang Tannery outbuildings, and the former Forsyth factory.

"Surely we've learned something from past mistakes, where past councils have voted to tear down heritage buildings," said Coun. Frank Etherington. "I don't want to repeat such tragic mistakes."

Leon Bensason, the city's co-ordinator of cultural heritage planning, admits some buildings have been lost, but points to the many recent development successes in the downtown. "Most of those success stories have a heritage element."

Rick Haldenby, former dean of the school of architecture at the University of Waterloo, said Kitchener isn't much worse at preserving heritage than most other places in English Canada, where he believes "we don't consider our buildings and our city as part of our culture. We consider them as functional objects that do something useful."

But the environment we build to live and work in really does reflect culture, he argues. Cambridge's built heritage reflects its tradition of Scots stonemasons, Haldenby notes. Kitchener's built heritage reflects a certain Prussian pragmatism.

"We have some lovely residential buildings (in Kitchener), but compared to other cities of our size, we're not blessed with a wealth of them. Our strongest traditions are clearly industrial."

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10. The Record: Learning from Mayfair Mistakes?
Catherine Thompson

Group seeks inquiry into Kitcheners handling of Mayfair demolition

Crews work to demolish Kitchener's historic Mayfair Hotel in May. On Monday, city council will be asked to establish an independent inquiry into the handling of the demolition.
A group of citizens will appear before city council Monday to ask for an independent inquiry into the city's handling of the recent demolition of two heritage buildings.

The group, which includes ordinary citizens, heritage advocates and professionals such as architects, engineers and planners, plans to submit a list of 27 questions dealing with the way the city handled the demolition of the former Mayfair Hotel at 11 Young St., and the adjacent former Hymmen Hardware building at 156-168 King St. W.

"The system seems opaque and not transparent," said Lisa Harmey, an architect who said there are still too many unanswered questions around the demolition.


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11. CBC: Crumbling brickwork, Queen and Parliament

Bricks tumble onto Queen East sidewalk and street


A pile of bricks tumbled onto both the sidewalk and Queen Street East on Saturday afternoon, tying up some traffic and prompting a structural engineer to be called in.

The westbound lanes of Queen Street East remained closed on Saturday evening after crumbling red bricks fell during an afternoon rainstorm from one side of a second storey window at 332 Queen St. E.

No injuries were reported, police told CBC News.

TTC streetcars in the area were being diverted.

The building is located near Queen and Parliament Street, just east of the downtown core.

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