Legislation preps assault on parks: environmentalists

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver



Environmental groups are accusing the provincial government of pushing through legislation encroaching on the sanctity of parks for the sake of corporate interests.

On Monday the controversial Bill 4 was passed in the legislature, allowing industry to conduct feasibility studies in provincial parks for projects such as pipelines and transmission towers.

Peter Wood from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society said the studies lay the groundwork for slicing up parks.

“It’s going to allow industrial exploration that would provide the basis for opening the park up, taking that area out of the park and therefore it is no longer in the park when the industrial activity goes on,” Wood said.

He said environmental groups and park stakeholders were not consulted even after requesting talks with the Liberal government regarding the bill.

Wood said documents obtained through access to information last year revealed a number of projects poised to use land on or near parks.

“Thirty different parks are being proposed to go through and get opened up,” Wood said. “This is part of that parcel.”

The Ministry of Environment has said in the past such projects on parkland are nothing new and the bill will provide clarity for the province’s ability to allow research in parks.

But Wood said the major concern is the province can now allow anyone to conduct research without notification, so possible opponents of a project will not know about it until it’s too late.




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