An environmental group says the B.C. government has made significant changes to a provincial park without public consultation.
Peter Wood of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society says the government’s plan to reduce the size of Finn Creek Provincial Park is connected to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.
“This is inappropriate to be enabling the Kinder Morgan pipeline project in the absence of National Energy Board approval, which hasn’t happened yet”
Finn Creek Provincial Park is two hours north-east of Kamloops and contains sensitive fish habitats.
“We could end up having a pipeline that’s been disapproved and meanwhile we have a park that’s been chopped up to accommodate it.”
The change as described in Bill 26 would shrink the park area from 384 hectares to 380 hectares, which is about 1%.
A written statement sent by the Ministry of Environment spokesperson states the park size will only change if the pipeline is approved.
Environment minister Mary Polak did not provide an interview however she engaged in a twitter conversation with Wood over the weekend.
Wood says the legislation sets a dangerous precedent for other B.C. parks.
“As people are seeing how easy it is to open up the parks, more (industry) people are applying for those boundary adjustments and that flies in the face of what British Columbians have come to expect.”
The Ministry of Environment’s statement also says that this option is an alternative to the initial route proposal, that would have disturbed “forest that is designated as an old growth mangement area.”
The final National Energy Board report on the pipeline expansion project is expected on May 20.