New report highlights major commercial development threat to Canada’s national parks
September 10, 2015
Calgary – A new report released today by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) finds that Canada’s national parks are under serious threat from growing commercial development pressures, particularly in Banff and Jasper.
The report describes a list of recent developments that, together, threaten the natural values national parks are intended to protect. These include the recent rushed approval of a massive expansion of the Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff, construction of the Glacier Skywalk and a proposed Maligne Lake resort development in Jasper, and a proposal to build a giant seven story statue in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, among others.
The report describes the approval of the massive expansion of the Lake Louise Ski Resort as “an assault on the very essence of our national parks.” This massive ski area expansion would allow commercial development in an area that is currently regulated wilderness where development is prohibited by law. Lake Louise ski area is located in critical wildlife habitat, home to many sensitive and endangered species like grizzly bears, wolverine and lynx.
“We are also very concerned about the shrinking opportunities for Canadians to have their say in decisions affecting our national parks,” says Anne-Marie Syslak, Executive Director of CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter. “Public consultations are getting shorter and in many cases, public feedback is being ignored. These symptoms represent a worrying trend of private interests taking precedence over the public interest and conservation in our national parks.”
“This isn’t the first time commercial development has threatened the integrity of our national parks,” says Alison Woodley, National Director of CPAWS Parks Program. “In the 1970s, and again in the 1990s, CPAWS and other conservationists fought hard to stop massive commercial development projects in Banff, and won. Twenty years later a similar trend has emerged. It seems that once every generation private commercial interests gain a foothold in our parks and Canadians need to stand up and fight to protect our amazing natural legacy.“
“We share a collective responsibility to pass on our national parks unimpaired to future generations. Our forebears did this for us, and now it’s our responsibility as Canadians to do it for our children and grandchildren,” concludes Woodley. In the face of these commercial development threats, CPAWS is calling on Canadians and all political parties to fight for their national parks to stop them from being degraded by private commercial interests, for profit.
Contact: Kirsten Olson (403) 232-6686, [email protected], or Anne-Marie Syslak, cell (403) 827-4562, [email protected]