Ottawa

NCC rescinds land use for victims of communism monument

The National Capital Commission has rescinded land use in front of the Supreme Court of Canada building for the controversial victims of communism memorial.

CEO Mark Kristmanson called the project 'difficult'and 'divisive'

The winning design for a monument to victims of communism was criticized for both its scale and location. (Tribute to Liberty)

The National Capital Commission has rescinded land use in front of the Supreme Court of Canada building for the purpose of the controversial victims of communism memorial.

At a public board meeting Wednesday morning CEO Mark Kristmanson called the project both "difficult" and "divisive."

The monument has attracted controversy in part because of the planned location next to the court building on Wellington Street — land previously reserved for a new Federal Court building. 

It also faced criticism because it is seen as too large for the Parliamentary precinct and because it dealt with a subject matter that was not essentially Canadian. The design was subsequently reduced in scale.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has already said the memorial should not be built at its controversial location near the Supreme Court of Canada building. She's asking the project be moved to the originally planned site at the Garden of the Provinces and Territories.

The site change was subject to approval by the National Capital Commission's board of directors.

The board also passed a motion to no longer decontaminate the land on the grounds of the Supreme Court, but not without a dissenting voice.

Board member Michael Pinkow voted to decontaminate the land regardless of the monument's move.

"I still think that it's important to clean up sites when we have the opportunity to do it. And I would like to see the site cleaned up," he said.

Heritage and architecture groups dropped a lawsuit about the proposed memorial after the meeting on Wednesday.

The board also approved a design concept to renovate the VIA Rail train station on Tremblay Road and it renewed a sponsorship deal to keep the Sunday Bike Days program going for another five years.

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