Action Alert: Save Our Alberta Parks !
More Parks Now! NOT Bill 29
You’re all making a difference! Now until February 19th is the best time to meet with your MLA and ask for new parks – Albertan’s #1 priority – instead of the proposed new parks legislaiton (Bill 29, Alberta Parks Act). Those outside Alberta - likewise the best time to ask the same of Alberta's Premier. Build the momentum: action checklist below.
The best solution is to stop Bill 29 altogether and get the Alberta Premier and Minister to focus on more parks instead of passing Bill 29. The Bill would open all parks up to more private development and set up the privatization of trails within them. In November, your prompt action through Save Alberta Parks Now! (also on Facebook) pulled parks back from the brink of disaster. The Minister suspended Bill 29 from immediate passage; undertaking to consult with Albertans before bringing it back again to be passed into law (See her website). The Legislature resumes its work February 22nd and Bill 29 can be back any time after that for passage into law.
- Ask to meet with your MLA. Best to ask for a meeting before Feb. 19 when it’s easier for MLAs to set up a meeting time. Find your MLA here. Phone/email their constituency office & ask for a meeting. Ask him/her to raise your concerns in the Legislature. (Tips for points / letters listed after this action list.) If NOT already done in November, write letter as per third item in this action check-list.
- Watch for the Cabinet tour (AB Government Ministers) in your area (e.g. check Progressive Conservative MLA websites, local news, Chambers of Commerce) attend and paste meeting date & location on Facebook, Save Alberta Parks NOW so others know too.
- Send a letter to Premier Stelmach. Copies will also automatically go to the Minister's address for feedback and to the opposition MLAs: Harry Chase, Liberal; Paul Hinman, Wild Rose; and Rachel Notley, NDP (who are likewise working to stop Bill 29). See tips for letters below
- Think of one of your favourite parks in Alberta or what should be a park & write a letter to the editor or post comments on the blog of local Alberta news papers.
- Ask friends & family to join the action and send them the link to this action alert.
- Stay in the action loop (events, action worksops & information); Parks Action Center at Seirra Club Canada - Prairie Chaper On Facebook, “like” Save Alberta’s Parks Now! If not on Facebook, you can still see the Facebook site.
TIPS FOR MLA MEETINGS AND LETTERS
- Mention your favorite Alberta parks or proposed park.
- Give short reasons why Bill 29 should be dropped (reasons listed at end) & new parks estalbished instead.
- Ask for a nomination process for new parks, as promised in Alberta’s Plan for Parks. Parks = only land-use in Alberta with no application form. The government websites have forms to buy public land, to develop, but not to protect as parks.
- Ask that your concerns be presented in the Legislature.
- Ask for a reply.
Albertan’s top three priorities regarding parks (as per government surveys):
1. New parks. Set aside more natural areas as parks.
2. Improve maintenance of existing park facilities. (Plus, more electric sites & showers at campgrounds.)
3. Increase enforcement of rules protecting environment and of rules related to visitor disturbance in parks.
- Lowest level of public support – Land & infrastructure for OHV use.
- Not viewed as a priority – Providing small-scale roofed accommodation.
- Didn’t come up at all – doing away with existing parks legislation, as proposed by Bill 29.
Top reasons to shelve Bill 29 altogether and what needs to be kept instead:
- Protection isn’t specified as priority inside parks. Ask that preservation of the natural environment (i.e. protection from harm or degradation) and protection of the ecological integrity within parks be specified as the primary purpose of parks amongst the other uses of outdoor recreation, tourism, education, and natural and cultural heritage appreciation.
- Resource development (e.g. oil & gas, logging, tarsands) can continue inside all new parks. Ask that the current laws requiring termination of resource development in Wilder-ness Areas & Ecological Reserves continue & that resource development be required to be phased out within all other types of parks as recommeded by the MLA Committee (2000).
- Minister of the day can approve any type of tourism development (e.g. hotels, condos) in any park & location the Minister chooses. Ask that Minister be limited to approvals that fall within the overall priority of protection and the purpose of the type of park.
- Dismantles Alberta’s network of different types of parks (Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, Wildland Parks, Ecological Reserves, Provincial Recreation Areas, Provincial Parks), making them all one type of park where the level of protection is at the complete discretion of the Minister and Cabinet through future zoning, including what’s open for private development (resorts, condos, hotels) and OHV trails. Ask that the current types of parks & their purposes be retained & strengthened. Also that Wildland Parks be given as stong a set of protections as Willmore Wilderness Park (unaffected by Bill 29), with the exception of designated OHV trials where OHV use is a tradition and the overall priority of environmental protection (including protecting wildlife habitat), can be retained.
- Privitization of trails within parks through delegated authorities. Rather than prvitization, the location, development and management of trails should remain the primary responsibility of the public service (as in national parks), which should receive adequate budgets. (Public service is directly accountable to Albertans. Private bodies or groups aren’t.) According to government figures, Alberta’s parks (not counting national parks) provide roughly half of the economic activity attributed to the whole of the tourism industry. Parks are a valuable asset the government can afford to maintain.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: