166,000 people demand repeal of Park Amendment Act

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 (All day)

Petition delivered to Province by environmental groups

News Release - May 14, 2014

VICTORIA – A massive 166,000 signature petition calling for the repeal of the Park Amendment Act, which allows industrial research in provincial parks, was delivered this morning to the provincial government by leading parks advocates.

The petition is believed to be one of the largest, if not the largest, environmental petition ever submitted to the Province.

"Like the 166,000 signatories to this petition, I am appalled that the B.C. government would sell our parks out to industrial interests such as the oil and gas companies,” said Angus Wong, Vancouver-based campaigner for Sum of Us, which initiated and hosted the petition. “The B.C. government knows this insidious legislation will get the Kinder Morgan and other pipelines built more easily. That’s why we need to fight back."

The Park Amendment Act, passed on March 24, expressly permits industrial research in parks, which was formerly prohibited. The Act facilitates the removal of park land for a variety of industrial activities, including oil and gas development and logging.

“Minister Polak has admitted, on record, that there was no consultation because the government was already issuing permits without any legal basis,” said Peter Wood of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “Instead of upholding its own law, the government went and changed it to suit industry’s needs.”

More than 30 parks have already been earmarked by the B.C. government for boundary adjustments for industrial purposes. Kinder Morgan, the massive pipelines company, already has a park use permit to undertake “invasive research” in 5 protected areas in BC.

“Research in parks should examine the benefits of maintaining these natural assets, not the immediate value of disposing of them,” said Al Martin, director of strategic initiatives at the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

The BC government rammed through the controversial legislation with just four days of debate totalling a little over eight hours. More critically, there was no public consultation prior to the legislation’s introduction.

"BC parks were created to protect special places; not to be bisected by oil pipelines and logging roads,” said Gwen Barlee, director of policy at Wilderness Committee. “The Park Amendment Act kicks the door open for industrial development in our protected areas and that simply isn't acceptable to the vast majority of British Columbians."

“The overwhelming public reaction to this odious legislation shows how deeply people inside and outside B.C. care about our world-renowned parks system,” said Bob Peart, executive director of Sierra Club BC. “British Columbians will not stand idly by while government tears down what has taken more than one hundred years to build. Government needs to listen and protect our parks from industrial development.”

The following groups helped organize and promote the petition: B.C. Wildlife Federation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Forest Ethics, Friends of Strathcona Park, Sierra Club BC, West Coast Environmental Law, Wilderness Committee, Wildsight and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

The petition can be found at sumofus.org/ParksNotOil.


For more information please contact:

Al Martin | Director of Strategic Initiatives, B.C. Wildlife Federation

Peter Wood | Director of Terrestrial Campaigns, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Bob Peart | Executive Director, Sierra Club BC

Angus Wong | Canadian Campaigner, Sum of Us

Gwen Barlee | Policy Director, Wilderness Committee

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