Toronto, ON — On Friday, the federal government passed first reading of Bill C-40, Rouge National Urban Park Act. Although the bill intends to create one of Canada’s first urban national parks in Rouge Park, the draft legislation is weak.
The legislation fails to meet the standards needed for a sustainable national park that respects conservation science and the ecological health and integrity objectives of approved Rouge Park Management Plans, as well as existing provincial Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Acts and Great Lakes Water Quality Improvement Plans.
We renew our call to Premier Wynne and the Ontario government to refrain from transferring any provincially owned Rouge Park lands to the federal government until the Province and the public are satisfied that the federal legislation respects and strengthens the existing provincial policies in place that protect our watersheds and Lake Ontario, endangered species and natural habitats as well as productive farmlands from urban sprawl.
About two thirds of the public lands in the proposed Rouge National Urban Park are provincially owned Greenbelt natural heritage system lands already designated as the Rouge Park in Toronto and York Region. The draft federal legislation proposes transferring these lands to the federal government. Legislation for the Rouge National Park must safeguard the longstanding, strong public interest in protecting and restoring the ecological health of the Rouge River and park – part of Canada’s endangered Carolinian ecosystem – for generations to come.
The groups issuing this statement are: Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and Friends of the Rouge Watershed
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For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca
John Hassell, Ontario Nature, 416-444-8419 ext 269; 416-786-2171 (cell); johnh@ontarionature.org
Jim Robb, Friends of the Rouge Watershed, 647-891-9550 (cell); jimrobb@frw.ca