Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thoughts before the NCC Announcement #protectthefarm

Photo credit: Richard Hinchcliffe.
Today's the day: The National Capital Commission will be releasing its assessment of federally-owned sites being considered for a new Civic Campus.

Four of the sites are at the Farm, of those three include actively used research fields for studies ranging from the low-carbon farming (zero-till) to breeding soybeans that can be commercially competitive as far north as Edmonton. Agriculture Canada (in ATIP-ed documents) has said losing these fields would have “too great an impact from a research perspective.”

The Sir John Carling site, which stretches well south and west of the relatively small footprint of that old building (demolished in 2013), includes numerous heritage buildings, laboratories, and other facilities. AgCan pegs relocation and rebuilding costs in the "hundreds of millions of dollars," let alone having to work around heritage designated buildings--which have more protection than a federal heritage site.

On top of that, AgCan is planning to build new interpretation and research facilities at the site to support the Farm's core research mandate.

The bottom line: Agriculture Canada officials, as quoted by Liz Payne in this morning's Citizen (and Sun, where she's actually a lot more aggressively making her case), have told the NCC:

"From a research and heritage perspective, the Department feels that an ideal outcome would be that the integrity of the CEF remain intact and that an alternate site be selected that does not include lands within its boundaries.”

After 10:35 we'll know if the NCC listened to their colleagues at AAFC, and if it will protect science, respect heritage, preserve greenspace in the heart of the Capital.