Hjordis Weibust is a creature of habit. At 84 her creature habits are quite simple. The most important, is to get outside every day, get some exercise and enjoy nature. The native of Norway is an unabashed nature enthusiast. That's why after her husband died, she moved from her home in Ottawa's East End to near Mooney's Bay, where she is able to walk. These days she makes the trek across Riverside Drive and into the park twice a day. She walks around the perimeter, along the water and visits the Hogs Back Falls, stopping to talk to those she meets along the way. Her favourite activity is sitting under a tree and reading a book.
Hjordia Weibust knows and loves Mooney's Bay. She is not just an occasional visitor.
That's why she is not happy with plans to build Canada's biggest playground in the Park. She, and other local residents feel they should have had some say in the process. No one was consulted.
Mrs. Weibust only became aware something was "up" when she watched as work crews prepared to fell huge living trees near the Sue Holloway Fitness Centre. She had the guts to confront the workers, but did not learn the truth until after the trees were gone. She is disappointed. She tells me she is not against a playground, but feels if there had been discussion with locals, a more realistic plan could have been developed. One that could have saved precious trees. Mooney's Bay, she says, is a natural playground, and that's what children want and need.
Hjordis Weibust met me at Mooney's Bay on a very hot Saturday morning.