Media Advisory May 14, 2014
For Immediate Release
Victoria, B.C. - The B.C. Green Party stands in full support of the Sierra Club of B.C., B.C. Wilderness Committee, and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society as they presented a petition today with over 166,000 signatures, demanding the B.C. Liberal government repeal Bill 4: The Parks Amendment Act.
The legislation was widely opposed by all members of the opposition when it was being debated this spring in the Legislature, and received a very cold reception from British Columbians. The government claimed that the legislation was needed to bring research activities that were already occurring without permits into compliance with the law. However, this claim is at odds with the government’s new “Draft Policy for Issuing Park Permits for Research Purposes”.
On Monday, B.C. Green Party MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Andrew Weaver submitted a letter providing feedback on this draft policy. The policy seeks to create a new type of license called an “investigative use permit”, which by definition is “issued as a means of gathering information for the purpose of determining viability of land use/occupancy for commercial or proposed industrial activities”. Given the Minister of Environment’s claims in the house that no commercial or industrial development will occur in our parks, the only other option is to apply for a boundary adjustment and have the land removed from the park.
“The changes to the Act may not have allowed new industrial development in parkland, but by creating investigative use permits they have created the vehicle to get the land out the park before it is developed.” said Adam Olsen Interim-Leader of the B.C. Green Party
With two major pipeline projects seeking approval and the government’s efforts to push forward an LNG industry, with all the pipelines and fracking pads that that will entail, this policy codifies the concerns that were raised in the legislature, namely that we are creating a system to streamline the removal of Park land in order to facilitate these projects.
“The scientifically determined ecological value of a Park does not simply disappear because the government facilitated a park boundary adjustment,” said Olsen. “British Columbians do not see the difference the Minister does when it comes to development in or around our Parks.”