More than 181,000 people said, through an online petition delivered to Jasper National Park Superintendent, Greg Fenton, that they did not want to see the Glacier Discovery Walk approved.
Something is very wrong when a government purports to listen but does not hear.
Something is very wrong when public servants take a direct expression of opposition to an idea and spin it into a justification for that idea to proceed.
Click here for the official, spin-crazy accounting from the Parks Canada Agency.
Government of Canada Announces Decision on
Glacier Discovery Walk Proposal Environmental Assessment
Ottawa, Ontario, February 9, 2012 -- Today, the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the decision to move forward with negotiations with Brewster Travel Canada’s proposal for a Glacier Discovery Walk project on the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park. The Glacier Discovery Walk project will be subject to mitigation measures identified through the environmental assessment process.
“The Glacier Discovery Walk represents an innovative and accessible way for visitors of all ages and abilities to have a state-of the-art experience, ‘a view from the edge’ of the landscape,” said Minister Kent. “Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the geography, geology, glaciology, the environment and Aboriginal history of the area. I am pleased to announce the approval of this exciting new project.”
Parks Canada’s determination was made following a robust review process which included open houses and an extensive public and aboriginal engagement program, as well as close examination of potential environmental effects and careful consideration of public comment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The project will now proceed to the next steps in the development review process, including lease negotiations and construction agreement.
“I am happy to report to my constituents in Yellowhead, and all Canadians that following an extensive environmental impact assessment, the Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park has been approved,” said the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, Alberta. “We are proud of this new exciting way for visitors from across Canada and around the world to experience the amazing vistas and learn about our unique ecological and cultural heritage while promoting economic activity and jobs in Jasper and the surrounding areas.”
The Brewster Travel Canada Glacier Discovery Walk Proposal meets the goals identified in the strategic concept for the Icefields Parkway, respects the approved management plans for Banff and Jasper national parks and addresses associated environmental and visitor experience issues.
The Icefields Parkway opened in 1940 as a scenic road for the use and pleasure of national park visitors. The Glacier Discovery Walk will be constructed on a previously disturbed, existing right-of-way for the Icefields Parkway and represents a unique and permissible development in a front country area of the park. As a world leader in conservation, Parks Canada would not approve this project if it were to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
“Our mountain parks draw people from all around the globe to enjoy the unparalleled beauty of our province of Alberta. And it is enhanced opportunities for visitor experiences, such as the Glacier Discovery Walk, that will help to keep them coming back again and again,” said Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose, Alberta, which includes Banff National Park. “As the chairman of Parliament's Tourism Caucus, I am excited by the opportunities for expanded tourism and a better knowledge of the natural history of our national parks that this project represents.”
“A major challenge in Canada’s national parks is to manage development in order to protect the area for future generations, while offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy and understand the national parks,” Minister Kent added. “During the public consultation process, we heard from many Canadians representing many perspectives. We recognize and appreciate the passion all Canadians feel for our national parks.”
Minister Kent thanked Brewster Travel Canada for their work in developing this proposal for consideration. For over 120 years, Brewster has been a valued partner in presenting outstanding visitor experiences and learning opportunities in Canada’s mountain national parks to Canadians and visitors from around the world.
This decision also supports the Government’s Federal Tourism Strategy, which helps encourage the development of exceptional tourism experiences and inspire the world to explore Canada.
The Icefields Parkway in Banff and Jasper national parks is an iconic feature and part of one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural areas in the world. Parks Canada is committed to ensuring Canada’s special places are presented and protected for the enjoyment, education and appreciation of all Canadians, today and in the future.
For more information on Jasper National Park, visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca.
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Office of the Minister of the Environment