05/27/2015 11:45 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT

City Of Ottawa To Ask Feds To Move Victims Of Communism Memorial


Ottawa city council voted Wednesday to formally ask the federal government to move a national memorial for victims of communism away from a location next to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In a vigorous debate Wednesday, council approved the motion 18-6 to ask the federal government to respect their own long-term vision for the Parliamentary and judicial precincts, which outlined the importance of completing the judicial precinct with the future construction of a Federal Court building.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said in the debate he was bothered by the lack of consultation before the decision, and said the city is right to intervene.

"It definitely is a city issue. It's about proper planning procedure," said Watson.

'This is not our sandbox', says councillor

Other city councillors, however, felt the motion was outside the city's mandate, as the location is federal land under the jurisdiction of the National Capital Commission.

"This is not our sandbox," said Allan Hubley. "In my view, this is not our business."

The Victims of Communism memorial has been a divisive issue in the city since the NCC approved its construction on a vacant site between the Supreme Court of Canada and Library and Archives Canada buildings on Wellington Street.

The location has drawn complaints from a number of parties, including the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada.

On Monday MP Jason Kenney had defended the government's use of the land and says it falls under the authority of the NCC and not the city.

"I think it's a more appropriate use of that land than yet another downtown office tower in Ottawa," said Kenney.

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