Two groups say no to fo­rum

Friends of Green Cove can­cel public event in­volv­ing ques­tions from ex­perts

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON -

The Friends of Green Cove have can­celled plans for an ex­perts’ fo­rum on the pro­posed Mother Canada mon­u­ment.

Last month, the group, which is op­posed to the con­struc­tion of the mon­u­ment at Green Cove, in­vited Parks Canada, Stan­tec Inc. — au­thors of the draft de­tailed im­pact anal­y­sis of the pro­ject — and the Never For­got­ten Na­tional Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion to at­tend a fo­rum.

The Never For­got­ten Na­tional Me­mo­rial, a pri­vately funded ini­tia­tive, is look­ing to build a me­mo­rial to Canada’s war dead in the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park in north­ern Cape Bre­ton.

“We are dis­ap­pointed be­cause we think not just that we de­serve it as a group against the pro­posal, we think ev­ery­one de­serves a fuller, more re­spect­ful public con­sul­ta­tion process,” Friends of Green Cove spokesper­son Sean Howard said in an in­ter­view Fri­day.

“Our group has said for quite a while that even if you’re in favour of the me­mo­rial be­ing built at Green Cove, you should want to know all the pros and cons be­fore you take the fa­tal step of send­ing the bull­doz­ers in.”

The in­ten­tion be­hind the fo­rum was to al­low the pro­po­nents to present their cases and an­swer ques­tions from three ex­perts — San­dra Barr and Ian Spooner of Aca­dia Univer­sity and Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity’s Deanne van Rooyen.

The fo­rum was to be in­de­pen­dently chaired and mod­er­ated, with de­tails such as time, venue and for­mat to be mutu- ally agreed.

Parks Canada de­clined the in­vi­ta­tion, not­ing that in­for­ma­tion on the pro­ject has been avail­able to the public since Au­gust 2013 and that there has been ad­e­quate public con­sul­ta­tion of the de­tailed im­pact anal­y­sis.

This week, an of­fi­cial with Stan­tec said the com­pany would not par­tic­i­pate.

The Never For­got­ten Na­tional Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion has not re­sponded to the in­vi­ta­tion.

Howard said next week his group plans to pub­licly re­lease the ques­tions that the ex­perts planned to ask had the fo­rum taken place.

“I think the public needs to know what those ques­tions are and maybe it’s not too late for even a writ­ten re­sponse to them,” he said.

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