On 26 March 2014, to my disappointment and dismay, I found out that the Government of British Columbia had passed a bill that would drastically alter the management of B.C. parks (2, 3, 4).
Bill 4, the ‘Park Amendment Act’ of 2014 was introduced into the B.C. legislature on February 13 and became law on March 24:
“Bill 4 allows for industry (and others) to carry out ‘research’ in provincial parks related to pipelines, transmission lines, roads and other industrial activities that might require park land. It also reduces legal protection for smaller parks and enables film production in BC parks….
“Bill 4 seems to be premised on the idea park protection unreasonably constrains government and industry. That’s not consistent with the BC government’s claim that parks are a public trust, to be managed for the protection of BC’s natural environment, and the inspiration, use and enjoyment of [the public]. Our protected areas, and we as British Columbians, deserve better.”
The BC Liberals, “conservative and neoliberal” in their philosophy, headed by Christy Clark, once “a partner in a lobbying firm that was contracted by Enbridge and lobbied the federal government on the company’s behalf”, passed this law for the benefit of industry without care or consideration for their constituents:
“Previously, a park use permit could not be issued unless the applicant could prove that the activity was ‘necessary for the preservation or maintenance of the recreational values of the park involved.’ Bill 4 removes this safeguard, allowing the Minister to grant a permit if it is determined that the research relates to ‘an environmental assessment or a feasibility study,’ or is ‘necessary to inform decision making around changing the boundaries.’
“A government document obtained in late 2013 via a Freedom of Information request revealed that the BC government is already considering boundary changes to over 30 parks, including for LNG pipelines and the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The Bill also removes certain protections from smaller parks.
[continued at chycho]