BC budget fails to restore funding to BC Parks
Vancouver, BC – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC) is very discouraged to see that in the provincial budget announced today, the BC Government failed to meet its promise to restore funding to BC Parks.
This is being taken as a sign of government inaction in an era of provincial neglect for BC’s wilderness areas. After campaigning on this promise, the government backtracked on their commitment to increase funding for parks and protected areas in the province.
“Today’s disappointing budget announcement shows that our government is going back on its promise to reinvest in BC’s parks system,” says Tori Ball, Terrestrial Campaigner for CPAWS-BC.
“Without a much-needed funding increase, our parks remain at serious risk of irreversible environmental degradation. We’ve seen park advocates from across the province speaking up to defend their cherished parks system for years, and it’s frustrating to see the government’s promises fall flat in this budget,” adds Ball.
CPAWS-BC and thousands of British Columbians have called on the government to immediately increase funding for BC Parks to $60 million, with a long-term commitment to match standards set by Alberta Parks and Parks Canada. Instead, the budget falls almost $20 million short of that amount and promises no significant increase in funding over the next several years.
The government’s short-term priorities for parks funding, outlined in their 3-year fiscal plan, will not be enough to secure recreational opportunities and ecological integrity in our parks in the long term. CPAWS-BC is very disappointed that the government has failed to reinvest in the beleaguered parks agency, continuing on a path of weak environmental protection and missed opportunities to bolster our important recreational tourism industry.
“Our parks represent an important investment for British Columbia, both environmentally and economically,” says Ball. “Our government is failing to invest in a future for wilderness in this province. As we move towards Canada’s international commitment to protect 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020, we must continue to not only expand our system, but to invest in the quality of protection.”
Tori Ball, CPAWS-BC Terrestrial Campaigner
604-685-7445 ext. 24