Ottawa

Mélanie Joly promises prompt decision on victims of communism memorial

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said she will decide "promptly" about the scale and location of the controversial memorial to victims of communism, which she called a "priority" in her portfolio.

Proposed location on Wellington Street proved controversial

This is the winning design for the new National Memorial to Victims of Communism on Wellington Street in Ottawa. Several people and groups have been critical of the monument's location, design or both. (Tribute to Liberty)

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said she will decide "promptly" about the scale and location of the controversial victims of communism memorial, which she called a "priority" in her portfolio.

Joly made the statement at the National Art Gallery Thursday afternoon, following a meeting with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who has been a vocal opponent of the memorial's size and planned location on Wellington Street west of Parliament Hill.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said she will decide "promptly" about the scale and location of the controversial memorial to victims of communism during a press conference with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. 1:11

Architecture and heritage groups have also criticized the plan to build the memorial on a vacant lot between the Supreme Court of Canada and Library and Archives Canada. 

Joly, the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, said she still needs to meet with other stakeholders to make sure she has all the information she needs to make a decision.

Ludwik Klimkowski, chair of Tribute to Liberty, the group behind the memorial, told CBC News he is meeting with a representative from Joly's office tomorrow and that he hopes to meet with the minister next week.

Joly said she discussed the issue earlier today over breakfast with Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, who represents Ottawa Centre where the memorial was set to be built.​

Watson said that Joly is "wise to consult" given that there was "not proper consultation" under the Conservative government. He said a two to three months would be an appropriate timeline for a decision.

Watson has echoed the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in suggesting that the monument be built in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories, a little further west down Wellington Street from the Conservatives' preferred site.

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