Kootenay environmental groups oppose changes to BC Parks

Bill 4 has passed its second reading in the provincial legislature, but many environmentalists are hoping that is as far as it will go.

A proposed amendment to the BC Park Act has several regional environmental groups in opposition.

Bill 4 has passed its second reading in the provincial legislature, but many environmentalists are hoping that is as far as it will go.

“Thousands of letters protesting this Bill have poured into government offices,” said Anne Sherrod, a director of Valhalla Wilderness Watch, a group based in the Kootenays. “The Liberals ignored those letters and refused to allow time for further consultation. This bill was only tabled on Feb. 13, which shows how much it is being fast-tracked to prevent the public from making an effective defence of our parks.”

When the bill was originally introduced, the government said it would provide clear and consistent direction around authorizing outdoor recreation, tourism, commercial filming and research activities in BC Parks.

The bill will affect all provincial parks, including several in Golden’s surrounding area, such as the Bugaboo Provincial Park.

The bill introduces amendments to the BC Park Act that will ensure commercial filming activities are properly authorized, remove size provisions to ensure all Class A parks are managed to the same standard regardless of size, and allow permits for research and information gathering.

Wildsight worries that these changes are being implemented to allow for “exploratory drilling, ore sampling and road building” within the parks, threatening both wildlife and recreation.

“Our parks, including the Purcell Wilderness conservancy, Height of the Rockies, St. Mary’s Alpine Park… and provincial parks across B.C. were created to strike a balance on the landscape, to assure future generations have the opportunity to experience the wildlife and wilderness that makes British Columbia unique in the world,” said John Bergenske, executive director of Wildsight.

“These proposed changes threaten the integrity of our park system and the wild places that British Columbians cherish.”

Minister of the Environment May Polak insists that these concerns are unfounded.

“To be absolutely clear, these proposed amendments do not allow, promote or otherwise enable industrial projects in parks and protected area. Recent suggestions that future mining or forestry or other industrial operations will be allowed in parks are simply not true,” said Polak.

The proposed amendments are being put in place to allow for studies. Currently issuing research permits is not permitted, meaning there is no way to take soil samples for archaeological assessments, or collect animal or plant specimens.

“Research can be purely for academic purposes, or as part of an environmental assessment,” said Polak.

The Bill was debated in the legislature in early March, with the NDP in opposition, and passed its second reading.

 

Just Posted

Two killed in two-vehicle crash on Highway 1

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Your weekly Mountain Minute

This week’s top stories… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Turning Back the Pages: Donald was a happening place before the fire

By Colleen Palumbo Recently, the Golden Museum came into possession of a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

B.C. removes personal limits for bringing home out-of-province alcohol

Previous relgulations placed limits on the amount of liquor that B.C. residents could bring home

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read