February 5, 2016 4:50 pm
Updated: February 5, 2016 5:35 pm

Parks Canada halts Mother Canada war memorial project

The Never Forgotten National Memorial at Green Cove near Ingonish, N.S., is shown in this undated artist's rendering.

Handout/The Canadian Press

It appears the Mother Canada, Never Forgotten War Memorial dream for the Cape Breton Highlands has come to an end.

Parks Canada announced Friday that it is withdrawing the memorandum of understanding for the 24-metre behemoth of a statue, “essentially giving the project the red light.”

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“Parks Canada has concluded that there are too many key elements that remain outstanding for the project to be achieved by the planned date of July 1, 2017, including the availability of funds to the Foundation, agreement on the structuring of the funding for construction and maintenance, and a definitive final design plan,” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Watson in a statement.

READ MORE: Controversial ‘Mother Canada’ statue plan dividing Canadians

The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, the organization that has worked on the project with Parks Canada for the past four years, put out a statement saying they’re heartbroken it has come to this.

“The Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation is extremely disappointed, shocked and saddened with today’s surprise announcement by Parks Canada,” the statement reads.

“Part of our work over the last four years was conducting an extensive detailed impact analysis that confidently concluded the project would not result in any residual adverse environmental effects at Green Cove.”

WATCH: Mother Canada statue a source of controversy

Federal Member of Parliament for the area, Mark Eyking, said in a statement that he always supported the monument as long as it met the criteria and that private funding was available. He commended the Foundation for the dedication to “trying to make such a large investment” in Cape Breton.

“I hope going forward that they will consider another location in Cape Breton to commemorate the many Canadian Men and Women that lost their lives overseas,” Eyking said.

Statue a source of controversy

The monument has been the source of much controversy since it was proposed, with the organization Friends of Green Cove speaking out against the memorial saying it would have major ecological ramifications and take away from the cove’s natural beauty.

“Not only has the ecological integrity of Green Cove been saved for future generations, but the integrity of Parks Canada and the entire National Parks system has been restored,” reads a statement from Friends of Green Cove.

They go on to thank those who stood by them in opposition of the statue, and the new federal government for being committed to respecting the “core mandate and mission of Parks Canada which will hopefully now be free again to support the responsible, eco-friendly development of the lands and coast in its

NDP Parks Canada critic Tim Chu said in a statement Friday afternoon that he welcomed the government’s decision to pull out of the project, adding that he sent a letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna last week, asking her to reject the proposal.

“The seven-storey monstrosity should never have been considered for placement in a national park,” the statement reads. “New Democrats have long understood that this location posed an ecological threat to the park and lacked the support of Canadians.”

If the project were to go ahead, the Never Forgotten War Memorial Foundation planned to have the statue completed by July 2017.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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