Saturday, March 1, 2014

British Columbia Parks in Jeopardy?

Bill 4, the Park Amendment Act 2014 is presently being considered at the BC Legislature. It contains some legal weasel words that should raise a few red flags about our Parks and Protected areas in British Columbia.

An amendment to enable film production in BC Parks makes it clear that this activity can only occur if its is not "detrimental to the recreational values of the park involved". Filming of a film celebrity hiding in the bushes of a BC park is hardly an activity likely to cause too many problems and we know that a permit will be denied if the filming will be detrimental.

In contrast to the provisions to enable film production, the remainder of Bill 4  is written in obfuscatory language. It provides for research and the issuance of permits for activities related to research. Sections of the Park Act normally intended to protect recreational values cannot be employed to prevent the issuance of permits for activities related to research. The research means a broad range of feasibility studies, environmental assessments related to highway, pipe or transmission lines, telecommunications and "a prescribed project or projects in a prescribed class of projects". The research may also inform the BC Government and Legislature "in relation to the boundaries of the protected area".

The BC Government is giving itself the power to diddle with our parks and their boundaries. Park legislation should be clear rather than obscure.

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