Mother Canada Project

Published: February 7, 2016

Mother Canada Project, The controversial Mother Canada project planned for the Cape Breton Highlands National Park will not be going ahead, to the delight of opponents and disappointment of supporters.

Parks Canada yanked its support of the $25-million project that included a 24-metre statue planned for Green Cove. The project was being backed by a private group, the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation.

The decision came following a review that found “too many key elements were outstanding” for a completion date of July 1, 2017, according to a Parks Canada news release issued Friday.

The issues include funding, a final design and an agreement on the structuring of the funding for construction and maintenance, Parks Canada said.

“Parks Canada will no longer be working towards the realization of the memorial in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. As a result, the project will not be moving forward on Parks Canada land,” the news release said.

Parks Canada turned down an interview request.

Project ‘victim to politics’
The news came as a shock and disappointment to the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, community director Meg Stokes said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The foundation worked with Parks Canada over four years, she said, and had conducted an “extensive detailed impact analysis” that “confidently concluded” the project would not harm the Green Cove environment.

“We are heartbroken that our project has fallen victim to politics,” Stokes said in the statement.

The group is “deeply saddened that so many people in Cape Breton, especially those North of Smokey, that have given countless hours of their time and hearts to this memorial, were treated in this shocking manner by Parks Canada.”

Her statement did not address Parks Canada’s concerns about funding or design. The foundation is not taking interviews, Stokes said.

The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation says an impact analysis showed the monument wouldn’t hurt the park’s environment. (CBC)

‘Immense relief’
Sean Howard, spokesman for Friends of Green Cove, the group that opposed the project, said the decision is “an immense relief.”

“In terms of our struggle to save Green Cove, it seems to be a clear 100 per cent victory for us.”

But he also described the decision to scrap the controversial eight-storey war memorial as “bittersweet.”

“It has been a bitter struggle and we believe an entirely preventable struggle. The project should never have been seriously contemplated for Green Cove,” Howard said.

The group said the proposed complex would have spoiled an area that is supposed to be protected from development.

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