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Lands for Life Outcome and Action Alert--April 3, 1999
Lands for Life Outcome and Action Alert--April 3, 1999
We've come a long way. Thanks to the thousands of letters sent in
response to the 'Lands for Life' report last November, we all have
brought public land protection in Ontario from the brink of disaster to
a respectable step forward.
As you will read below, this week's announcement is not perfect; there
are some serious issues to be resolved. Nonetheless the biggest step
forward in the history of Ontario is within reach. In order to secure
these new parks and protected areas, we need you to send one more
Below follows a one-page summary of the outcome and information
on the required action. Please read on.
Jean Langlois, CPAWS-OV
THE OUTCOME OF LANDS FOR LIFE
(a one-page analysis brought to you by CPAWS-OV)
On Monday 29 March 1999, the Ontario government announced the outcome of
the Lands for Life process, under the new label Ontario's Living
Legacy. For those who care about nature, it is a vast improvement over the
Round Table recommendations released last November.
The Good News
The Ontario government has announced just over 2 million hectares
(20,000 square kilometres) of new provincial parks and conservation
reserves. This nearly doubles the amount of protected land in the Lands
for Life planning region from 6.5% to close to 12%. It is the largest
single announcement of protected areas in the history of Ontario, and
brings to provincial total to about 9%.
Government and industry, under the new Ontario Forest Accord,
recognize that more protected areas will be required beyond those
announced this week, and agree to a clear process to identify and add
future protected areas in the region to complete ecological
representation of the protected areas network.
The Bad News
Provincial Park class targets have still not been met. For example, no
new wilderness class parks are proposed; at least 3 new or enlarged
wilderness parks are still required.
Mineral exploration (but no mines) would be allowed in some of the new
parks and conservation reserves where there is very high mineral
potential. This would be a fundamental change to existing provincial
policies on provincial parks and conservation reserves. In our view this
should not occur without a separate detailed public discussion. Under this
proposal, if a mine is developed the affected area would be deregulated
from the park and a new area of land would be added to it. This is the
dreaded temporary / rotating / floating / moving parks by another name.
Current estimates are that this applies to 0.8% of the planning region,
so despite the government's often repeated 12% figure, only about 11.2%
of the region is really protected.
It is proposed that recreational hunting will be allowed in almost all
of the new parks, including the Wilderness class addition to Killarney
Provincial Park. (Less than 1% of the new protected areas exclude
hunting.) This general approval of hunting in parks is a major change to
the Ontario Provincial Parks Planning and Management Policies, under
which recreational hunting and similar uses are normally dealt with on a
Slightly less than 12% of the planning region is proposed for
protection. Our estimates based scientific research, Ontario parks
policy and public opinion indicate that at least 20% or more should be
protected. The job is not yet done.
We have yet to obtain the details of the government's response to the
242 Round Table recommendations. The Government has accepted 84,
accepted in principle 129, not accepted 4, and will further study 25 of
Do not underestimate the good news. This is a historical step forward,
although clearly not the last step. We urge you to send a brief clear
letter to strongly support the good news and call on the minister to
improve the bad news.
The new parks and protected areas need one more letter from you before
they can become a reality. There is a 31-day comment period under the
Environmental Bill of Rights registry (EBR), and we expect opposition
to this step forward so your letter is very important. We suggest
writing a clear, brief, point-form letter. At the very least send a
brief letter supporting all the new parks and protected areas announced
this week as the Ontario's Living Legacy land use strategy.
TO HAVE YOUR COMMENTS COUNT on the public record, your letter must :
- refer to EBR# PB7E4001
- be sent by mail or fax (not email)
- MUST BE RECEIVED in the Minister's office NO LATER THAN 5:00 PM, APRIL
SOME POINTS TO CONSIDER INCLUDING IN YOUR LETTER:
1. Express strong support for all the proposed new parks and protected
areas announced on March 29th. Urge the minister to actually regulate
all these areas quickly.
2. Note that the Protected Areas announcements, which total less than 12%
of the planning region, do not protect enough land to complete the parks
system or a representative network of protected areas. Express strong
support for the goverment's commitment to identify and add more parks
and protected areas in the future.
3. Strongly oppose any mineral exploration in any provincial parks or
4. Oppose the proposed blanket exceptions to existing provincial policies
on provincial parks and conservation reserves, which would allow sport
hunting in almost all new parks, and allow hunt camps, commercial
fishing and fur trapping to continue indefinitely in new provincial
5. If you wrote about Lands for Life before, make reference to your
earlier letter and reiterate your demand for protection of 20% or more
of the region in large roadless areas that permanently exclude
industrial uses such as mining, logging and hydroelectric development.
Address your letter to:
Attention Land Use Strategy, EBR # PB7 E4001
Hon. John Snobelen
Minister of Natural Resources
6th Floor, Whitney block, 99 Wellesley St. W
Toronto, ON M7A 1W3
(Fax 705-755-1380 )
Please send us a copy:
CPAWS - Ottawa Valley Chapter
P.O. Box 3072 Station D, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6H6
We recommend that you also send a copy of your letter to your MPP and to
Premier Mike Harris.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
Check our website regularly. We will continue to keep it updated with
information, analysis, and links to government and other information
sources. It will include details of an upcoming public meeting in Ottawa.
http://www.cpaws-ov (go to Lands for Life section)
THANK YOU for your crucial contribution so far, for writing one more
letter, and encouraging others to do so. Feel free to distribute this
message, in its entirety.
CANADIAN PARKS AND WILDERNESS SOCIETY
Ottawa Valley Chapter / Section Vallée de l'Outaouais
tel:(613) 730-2797 fax:(613) 730-0005 http://www.cpaws-ov.org
P.O. Box 3072, Station "D", Ottawa, ON, K1P 6H6
Defending wilderness in Ontario and Quebec since 1970.
Jean Langlois, Executive Director: email@example.com
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