Legislation introduced today, if passed, will add more than 55,000 hectares to B.C.’s protected areas system, announced Environment Minister Mary Polak.
Bill 11 – the Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2014, adds land to two existing conservancies and two parks, and marine waters to four existing conservancies, protecting more area for future generations to enjoy. If passed, this legislation also modifies the boundaries of six parks, one conservancy and one ecological reserve.
“Since 2004, the system of Class A parks, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas has increased by more than 3.2 million hectares,” said Polak. “Through this legislation we are helping to further protect our environment, including habitat for caribou and bighorn sheep, kelp beds and corals, grey whale feeding grounds and other areas with high ecological values.”
If passed, this legislation adds nearly 23 hectares of land to Syringa Park in the Kootenays. Almost four hectares of land of an existing recreation area are being added to Paul Lake Park near Kamloops. More than 33,000 hectares of land are being added to Indian Lake – Hitchcock/Át Ch’îni Shà Creek Conservancy and Upper Gladys River/Watsíx Deiyi Conservancy, following the recommendations of the Atlin Taku Land Use Plan.
A combined total of over 22,700 hectares of marine waters are being added to four conservancies on the Central Coast (Mahpahkum-Ahkwuna/Deserters Walker Conservancy, Qwiquallaaq/Boat Bay Conservancy, Ugwiwa’/Cape Caution Conservancy and Ugwiwa’/Cape Caution – Blunden Bay Conservancy).
This legislation includes modifying the boundaries of the following provincial parks:
Boundaries are also being modified in Mount Richardson Park, Tow Hill Ecological Reserve and Kamdis Conservancy to correct administrative errors; each of these three amendments being less than a hectare in size.
These amendments assist government in meeting a number of its economic objectives, including the redevelopment of a hydroelectric power generation station and community water supply systems, and commitments from land use plans and strategic agreements with First Nations.
Covering over 14 million hectares, British Columbia’s provincial protected areas system is one of the largest in North America.
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