Bill 29 ‘Suspended.’ Is Alberta Parks Ministry Finally Listening to Albertans?
Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) congratulates Cindy Ady, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation on her apparent decision to withdraw the deeply unpopular Bill 29, the draft Alberta Parks Act. It now appears the bill will not be reintroduced in the spring session of the Alberta legislature.
In a recent “Park News” email, Minister Ady wrote: “While I had planned to bring park legislation back this Spring, I will spend the time needed to address the main concerns raised by Albertans before moving forward with new legislation.”
“Consultation is partly about asking people’s opinions but it also carries a responsibility to listen to, and to act on, those opinions,” says Nigel Douglas, AWA Conservation Specialist. “AWA is glad that the ministry is starting to listen to what Albertans want for our beloved parks and protected areas network.”
Albertans made it abundantly clear in the fall of 2010 that Bill 29 (the draft Alberta Parks Act) fell far short of what they expected from legislation to govern parks and protected areas. Levels of certainty in existing parks legislation stood to be replaced with considerable ministerial discretion to make, and to change, future parks plans with no public input. Minister Ady appears to have recognized the shortcomings in Bill 29 and is taking her time to reconsider her department’s position, and how best to move forward.
"While far from perfect, the legislation currently in place serves protected areas far better than the flawed legislative attempts of the recent past, including Bill 29,” says Cliff Wallis, AWA President. “We must protect what we have until such time as a new bill can be prepared which satisfies most Albertans’ desires for stronger, not weaker, protected areas’ laws."
“Albertans have consistently called for more and better protected parks,” adds Douglas. “We look forward to a day when new parks legislation truly reflects that desire.”
For more information:
- Cliff Wallis, AWA President: (403) 271‐1408
- Nigel Douglas, AWA Conservation Specialist: (403) 283‐2025