Montreal Gazette

Keep camp site as natural oasis

- Malcolm Andrews, Pointe-claire

Re: “Will Scouts honour their legacy at Camp Tamaracout­a?” (Extra, Feb. 17)

I have fond memories of camps and jamborees at Camp Tamaracout­a. I was a leader with the Valois Scouting group in Pointe-claire for some 10 years while my son rose through the ranks from

Beavers to Cubs to Scouts.

Tamaracout­a played an important role for most of the past century, introducin­g the great outdoors, adventures and skills to youth who in many cases would not have had that opportunit­y.

While the decline in membership and funds may no longer allow Scouts Canada to maintain or even hold on to the property, I agree with Clifford Lincoln and others who argue it must somehow be preserved as a natural oasis, ideally for the wider public to enjoy.

A similar Scout camp in the Oshawa area (Camp Samac, opened in 1946) has been designated a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act. As such, the camp is protected from developmen­t, and any future changes would need the approval of city council.

Perhaps a similar strategy can be found to at least protect the Tamaracout­a site from becoming yet another commercial developmen­t that would deprive the public of being able to appreciate this gem and that could endanger the native plant and animal species that thrive there.

It is particular­ly vexing and perplexing that no one from Scouts Canada at the national or provincial level seemed willing to speak about this situation and explain the current state of affairs or any future plans.

This would seem an ideal opportunit­y for the organizati­on to reinforce its historic values, purpose and goals by working with local stakeholde­rs and groups like the Nature Conservanc­y to try to ensure that Camp Tamaracout­a continues to fill a vital role — albeit one that might serve a different function than before.

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