Local heritage experts testify for Parc Du Moulin
The Ottawa River now has official heritage status with the federal government. Local history and heritage buffs argue that Parc Du Moulin merits similar treatment, at least on the municipal level.
Back from their July summer break, the members of council for the City of ClarenceRockland gave quick approval Monday evening to a resolution to authorize both the municipal infrastructure and planning department, with help from the City’s heritage advisory committee, to start the process for giving official local heritage status to the community park. The process involves drafting a bylaw and also providing a public notice of the plan to allow any comments and feedback from residents.
At least three people hope there will be no delay in Parc Du Moulin joining the list of official heritage sites within the City of Clarence-Rockland. Gilles Chartrand, local historian/archivist and museum curator, and Michel Jubinville and Louis Aubry of the heritage advisory committee, made a special presentation during the Aug. 8 committee of the whole session that followed the regular council meeting. They were pleased with approval for the start of the heritage designation process and wanted to assure council that this was a real benefit for the community.
“It is important to protect this beautiful Gilles Chartrand (left) and Michel Jubinville present the case for making Parc Du Moulin one of the official heritage sites of the City of Clarence-Rockland. asset,” said Jubinville.
He noted that the official heritage guidelines for the province and the federal government stipulate that a building or a place is deemed worthy of heritage designation if it meets one or more of three criteria. They include: architectural uniqueness, historical value, and/or context value.
“Parc Du Moulin has great contextual value,” said Jubinville, noting the park’s location along the Ottawa River, now an official heritage river, and the important links that Parc Du Moulin has with the community and with Clarence-Rockland’s development history over the decades.
Parc Du Moulin, Chartrand noted, includes several of the remaining traces of the foundations of the sawmills which were the reason for Rockland’s existence in the mid-1800s, and the park received its own official inauguration as a community feature in 1967 as part of Rockland’s celebration of the Canadian Centennial.
Several council members wondered whether official heritage designation for the park would place any restrictions on future improvements to the property. Coun. Michel Levert asked if something like a community bandshell for the park would still be possible. Jubinville assured council that improvements like that should still be possible and welcome additions to the park in future.
“If you respect the attributes that make it a heritage park,” he said, “then there should be no problem.”