New parks vulnerable to industrial development


Vancouver, BC – This week the Minister of the Environment introduced new legislation that would expand the provincial park system by approximately 1,540 hectares over six different parks.  The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-BC), while pleased with these minor additions, remains concerned that all parks remain vulnerable to industrial activity due to recent changes in law and policy. At present, there are at least 10 parks being considered for “boundary adjustments” that would facilitate industrial development.

“It’s hard to get excited about the announcement of new parks when you're busy trying to prevent existing ones from being carved up,” says Peter Wood, Director of Terrestrial Campaigns, CPAWS-BC.

Some of the parks being considered for boundary adjustments include popular family camping destinations such as Sasquatch Park near Chilliwack, and Kalamalka Park in the Okanagan. Kinder Morgan has applied for five parks to be opened up to accommodate its oil pipeline expansion project. 

“The public is repeatedly being forced to fight off requests from developers - it’s an unfair burden and unacceptable,” said Wood. “These proposals are clearly inconsistent with the values for which these parks were created. They should never have been given approval to proceed to consultation.”

In addition, funding for the parks system remains at an all-time low. “We remain concerned that BC Parks are underfunded on the whole, and unable to ensure adequate monitoring and enforcement or visitor services,” says Wood. The annual operating budget for BC Parks is $31 million, or $2 per hectare, largely unchanged since 2001. Despite this, park fees are set to increase this season.

CPAWS-BC is calling upon the Province to address these underlying threats to B.C.’s parks in order to ensure their integrity.


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Contact:
Peter Wood
Director of Terrestrial Campaigns, CPAWS-BC
Cell: 604-761-3075
Email: peter@cpawsbc.org

For more information on threats to B.C. parks, please visit http://cpawsbc.org/campaigns/provincialparks
For a list of current boundary adjustment proposals, please visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/PBAProcess/