A new report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society calls on the B.C. government to repeal legislation that allows permits to be issued for feasibility studies related to pipeline projects in provincial parks.
The environmental organization is also urging the government to strengthen its policy on park boundary changes.
According to CPAWS’s 2014 report on the state of Canada’s parks, the goal of these two measures would be to “ensure BC’s provincial parks are well-protected and remain free from industrial activities forever”.
“In March 2014, without any public consultation, the British Columbia government rushed through changes to the provincial Park Act that undermine the integrity of these magnificent and famous parks,” the report states. “These amendments allow the government to issue permits for feasibility studies related to constructing roads, highways, transmission lines and pipelines through provincial parks, or for ‘research’ – a broad term that isn’t defined in legislation. Under the previous Park Act, use permits could only be issued for activities that were consistent with maintaining the values that a park was created to protect.”
“These changes undermine the fundamental principle that parks are to be protected from industrial development in perpetuity,” the CPAWS report says. “They also contradict Canada’s commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure protected areas are effectively and equitably managed. More than 167,000 Canadians have voiced their opposition to these amendments so far, and over 5,000 people have written personal letters to the Minister.”
In April, Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan, who’s now B.C. NDP leader, told the Georgia Straight that his party would revoke the Park Amendment Act if it forms the government after the next election.