River mission - Through its partnership with Ottawa Riverkeeper and Blue Legacy, the fourth generation of the de Gaspé Beaubien Family Rallies Quebec Stakeholders to Help Protect the Ottawa River

GATINEAU, QC, July 12, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation unveils its action plan, objectives and next steps concerning the important RIVER MISSION project, announced in May and aimed at better protecting the Ottawa River.

On May 29th, the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation announced its participation in the RIVER MISSION project through a new partnership with Ottawa Riverkeeper (Sentinelle Outaouais) and Blue Legacy International. This project aims to mobilize politicians, influential leaders, local communities and the entire population of Quebec to protect the Ottawa River, one of the most important rivers in Canada. Today, the Foundation unveils its action plan, objectives and the project's next steps.

Clearly Defined Goals
A confirmed financial commitment of $490,000 by the Foundation will be used to implement a series of activities that aim to raise awareness among the population of Quebec about the health and preservation of this major river. In addition, the goal of the project is to educate citizens that water, one of our most important natural resources, must be protected here in Quebec, as well as in Canada. Ottawa Riverkeeper (Sentinelle Outaouais), already well established on the Ontario side of the river, has been working hard for several years to raise awareness among Anglophone communities about this issue. However, two-thirds of the watershed is in Quebec, and a concerted effort is needed to inform Quebeckers about the importance of the river and the need to provide governance to ensure its preservation.

"We often think that the problems related to water, including its scarcity, are associated with underdeveloped countries, but the reality is very different... Imagine if countries today that have abundant water were to suddenly lack water; a major social crisis could ensue. We must roll up our sleeves and get started here now, because nothing is assured for future generations," explains Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien IV, one of the initiators of the project, and project spokesperson for the fourth generation of the family.

According to Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown, the help of the de Gaspé Beaubien family is critical to Ottawa Riverkeeper's efforts to protect the Ottawa River watershed. "We've been able to work very effectively in Ontario, but to work respectfully and effectively in Quebec, we need someone on our team who is completely at home with the laws, culture and language, which are different than in Ontario. If we are truly going to protect this magnificent river, we need to bring together communities and stakeholders on both sides of the river to agree on a common vision."

Step 1: New Position - Director of Operations in Quebec
In order to achieve our RIVER MISSION goals, the first step is to establish a permanent Director of Operations in Quebec for Ottawa Riverkeeper. The mandate of this successful candidate will be to represent Ottawa Riverkeeper in Quebec, and to bring together citizens, policy makers, governments and municipalities to create a shared vision of the river, a vision founded on a healthy, sustainable watershed for the benefit of all.

Step 2: Ottawa River Expedition by the 4th Generation of the de Gaspé Beaubien Family
The main goal of this expedition, to be held from August 4th-8th, will be to allow four young philanthropists from the fourth generation of the family to take ownership of their project and to understand how they can make a difference and become engaged spokespeople for RIVER MISSION. They will also test the water at different locations on the river to assess its quality.

Step 3: Ottawa River Expedition led by Blue Legacy's Alexandra Cousteau
During their next expedition on the Ottawa River, from September 11th-21st, 2013, the Blue Legacy team, led by Alexandra Cousteau, will capture three short films exploring:

  1. The quality of the water in the river
  2. The impact of dams on biodiversity
  3. The impact of the lack of collaborative governance on the river

The films will illustrate these critical issues and tell the compelling story of the state of the river to help people realize its importance to Canada.

Media interested in attending either of these expeditions, either remotely, or on-site, may communicate directly with the Valérie Gonzalo, Publicist for the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation.

Step 4: The Decision-Makers Tour
A year-long tour will be organized in 2014 to meet people whose actions and decisions could directly influence the state of the river, including mayors, ministers of the Environment, First Nations representatives, industries like Hydro-Quebec, Ontario Power Generation, the Chalk River nuclear plant, and nine pulp and paper mills that operate along the river. The de Gaspé Beaubien youth, Alexandra Cousteau, and Riverkeeper representatives will be on this tour; their mission will be to listen to the issues and concerns of all stakeholders, and then hold an open dialogue to assess how each party can contribute to improving the state of the river.

Step 5: Ottawa River Summit 2015
This project will wrap up at the second Ottawa River Summit, which will bring together all decision makers and citizens whose activities may have a significant impact on the river, to determine together an appropriate means of collaborative governance, supported by a strategic plan adopted by the majority of stakeholders.

About the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
The de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, a private family foundation founded in 1990 by Nan-B and Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, advocates an approach that favours entrepreneurial philanthropy. The Foundation prefers to actively invest in promising projects that are likely to experience growth and become profitable, rather than by offering only donations. With extensive experience in the field of business, as well as a network of established local and international contacts, the de Gaspé Beaubien family selects projects that help encourage individuals and organizations to support sustainable social development.

SOURCE: de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation

For further information:

about the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation's participation in the RIVER MISSION project, please contact:

Valérie Gonzalo
de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
514 626-6976


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