British Columbians #StandUpForParks on Parks Day, July 19


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

British Columbians #StandUpForParks on Parks Day, July 19

Jul 18, 2014

VANCOUVER – In recognition of Canada Parks Day, concerned citizens and environmental groups will go into B.C.’s provincial parks tomorrow to talk to park visitors about new legislation that threatens to open our parks and protected areas up for pipelines and other industrial projects.

“We are calling on Minister Polak to stand up for parks not pipelines, and repeal the Park Amendment Act,” said Sierra Club BC Campaigns Director Caitlyn Vernon.  “It should really be called the Park Dismemberment Act, as it enables Kinder Morgan to slice and dice our parks so they can move toxic tar sands oil from Alberta to tankers in Vancouver ports.

“Premier Clark claims she has five tough conditions that no tar sands pipeline has met, so why is her government rolling out the red carpet for Kinder Morgan in B.C. parks?”

The Park Amendment Act, rammed through in March with little debate and no public or First Nations consultation, expressly permits industrial research in parks. The Act also paves the way for the removal of park land, under the Park Boundary Adjustment Policy, for a variety of industrial activities including oil and gas development and logging.

“Minister Polak admitted this legislation provides legal cover for industrial permits they had already granted in B.C. parks,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “It is unacceptable that such destructive public policy is being drafted on the fly, without any consultation with British Columbians.”

On Parks Day, volunteers will invite park visitors to sign postcards addressed to the environment minister, calling for the repeal of the Park Amendment Act.

“Our parks should be forever, not forever vulnerable to the desires of oil, mining and forest companies,” said Peter Wood, director of terrestrial campaigns for the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “It took more than one hundred years to build our parks and protected areas into a system that is world renowned and a major driver of tourism. British Columbians expect their government to provide leadership protecting the integrity of our parks, not bowing to the whims of industry.”

On July 19, actions are planned in parks around the province, including the Lac du Bois Protected Area near Kamloops, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park at China Beach and Bridal Veil Falls Park, east of Chilliwack. A full list of actions, including contacts for local media, is attached.

“The whole point of parks is to create special places to enjoy nature that are free of heavy industry,” said Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director Joe Foy. “We know that parks contribute greatly to the economy – just think of the additional economic benefit we could provide to local communities by protecting and enhancing our parks, properly maintaining trails and re-instating park naturalists and park rangers.”

Actions have been organized by Sierra Club BC, CPAWS-BC, Wilderness Committee and community groups around the province.

Follow the day’s events on twitter at #StandUpForParks.

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For more information please contact:
Tim Pearson, Sierra Club BC
(250) 896-1556

Peter Wood, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. Chapter
604-761-3075

Joe Foy, Wilderness Committee
604-880-2580

Chris Bradshaw, B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union
604-369-8411

#StandUpForParks events, July 19


Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, northwest of Kamloops, 1:00-3:00 p.m.; canvassers will be at the Farmers Market (200 block of St Paul St), 8:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Contact: Anna Gerrard, 250-661-1270
Sasquatch Provincial Park, north of Harrison Hot Springs

Rally in Harrison Hotsprings (Lillooet and Rockwell Drive), 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Volunteers stationed at park, 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Contact: Debbie Hansen, 604-491-4241

Bridal Veil Falls Park, east of Chilliwack, park entrance
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Contact:  Joe Foy, 604-880-2580

Mount Seymour Provincial Park, North Vancouver, north end of P4 parking lot, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Contact: Ian Scholten, 780-387-1940.

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, west of Jordan River, entrance to China Beach Day Use Area, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Contact:  Torrance Coste, 250-516-9900

Other events are being held at:
Golden Ears Provincial Park, near Maple Ridge
Ruckle Park, Salt Spring Island
Drumbeg Provincial Park, Gabriola Island
Lakelse Lake Park, between Kitimat and Terrace

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