Legislation introduced to provide greater clarity in B.C.’s parks

New amendments that, if passed, will provide clear and consistent direction

Ministry of Environment

VICTORIA – Amendments to the Park Act introduced recently outline clear requirements for certain activities within B.C.’s provincial parks to ensure natural resources are protected, announced Environment Minister Mary Polak.

Bill 4 – the Park Amendment Act, 2014 brings forward three new amendments that, if passed, will provide clear and consistent direction around authorizing outdoor recreation, tourism, commercial filming and research activities in parks.

“The Province remains committed to protecting our natural resources, while at the same time expanding our economic activities,” said Polak. “Strong economic growth and strong environmental stewardship can co-exist in British Columbia. However, these economic activities will not be at the cost of our environment.”

If passed, these amendments will:

• Ensure commercial filming activities in Class A parks are properly authorized. Having the proper authorities in place eliminates uncertainties, helping to draw more production companies to the province, showcasing B.C.’s world-class parks system.

• Remove an arbitrary size provision in the act, ensuring all Class A parks are managed to the same high standards, regardless of their size. In 1965, this provision was added to the act to give a higher level of protection to parks 2,023 hectares or less in size. Over the years, protected area management tools, including management planning with public involvement, impact assessments and conservation risk assessments, have been developed, ensuring strong protection for all parks.

• Allow permits for research and information gathering, like vegetation sampling, fish surveys and geotechnical studies, to assist in determining whether future economic development projects may be feasible. These permits would be considered only after a thorough review of protected area values, including management plans, impact assessments and conservation assessments.

The Park Act is one of the principal pieces of legislation governing protected areas in British Columbia, providing for the administration and management of provincial parks, recreation areas and conservancies.

 

British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas in Canada, and one of the largest protected-areas systems in North America.