Proposed Rouge National Urban Park legislation and plan fail to meet existing environmental standards

Duguid letter to federal environment minister

Brad Duguid’s letter to federal environment minister (click to view PDF).

NGO coalition letter to Ottawa.

NGO Coalition letter to Ottawa (click to view PDF).


The draft Rouge National Urban (NU) Park legislation fails to “meet or exceed” existing Rouge Park, Greenbelt and ORM Policies and their “Ecological Integrity” goal, as the attached letters from Ontario Cabinet Minister Brad Duguid and our NGO coalition indicate.

Please send the following email to the listed federal officials to Help Protect Rouge Park

Step 1: Copy the following contact list into your email “To” window

pm@pm.gc.ca; Minister@ec.gc.ca; colin.carrie.c1a@parl.gc.ca

Step 2: Copy the following contact list into your email “Cc” window
Joe.Oliver@parl.gc.ca; Chris.Alexander.C1@parl.gc.ca;
lisa.raitt@parl.gc.ca; harold.albrecht@parl.gc.ca; john.mckay@parl.gc.ca;
John.McCallum@parl.gc.ca; peter.vanloan.c1@parl.gc.ca; Corneliu.Chisu@parl.gc.ca; CEOParksCanada@pc.gc.ca; alan.latourelle@pc.gc.ca; andrew.campbell@pc.gc.ca; bduguid.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; leigh@frw.ca; jimrobb@frw.ca

Step 3: Copy the draft letter below into your email, personalize it as you
like, add your name and address at the bottom, and send it.


Dear Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

In 2013, the federal government agreed to “meet or exceed” Ontario’s Greenbelt, Rouge Park and Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) policies during the drafting of the legislation and plan for a National Rouge Park.

Unfortunately, the draft National Rouge Park legislation and plan, released in June 2014, fails to “meet or exceed” these provincial policies, threatening to undermine decades of Rouge Park public policy development.

I support the Ontario Government and the many groups and citizens asking the federal government to:

1. “meet or exceed” existing Ontario Greenbelt, Rouge Park & ORM policies;
2. give priority to ecological integrity and science-based park
management;
3. implement Rouge Park’s “main ecological corridor” & plans to improve habitat & water quality;
4. create a 100 km2 national park on public Greenbelt lands linking Lake Ontario to the ORM.

These policies do not require the re-naturalization of all the leased farmlands in Rouge Park.

Existing Rouge Park Plans and adjacent Federal Green Space Preserve Plans have areas zoned for farming and areas zoned for nature and parkland enjoyment.

National Parks are extraordinary public lands where Canadians give priority to mother nature and ecological integrity.

I respectfully ask you to honour your government’s commitment to “meet or exceed” existing provincial policies by giving priority to “ecological integrity” within the legislation and management plan for the national Rouge Park.

I look forward to your favourable reply.

Sincerely, _____________________

Address


Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Jim Robb

for Friends of the Rouge Watershed, 647-891-9550

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Ontario and Cabinet Minister Brad Duguid won’t let Ottawa put Rouge at Risk

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Brad Duguid editorial argues for commitment to Rouge ecosystem, Toronto Star, Sept. 3, 2014

Brad Duguid editorial argues for commitment to Rouge ecosystem, Toronto Star, Sept. 3, 2014

In June, the federal government introduced Bill C-40 to establish Rouge National Urban Park. Unfortunately, that legislation as it stands is silent on the Memorandum of Agreement requirement to meet or exceed provincial standards for ecological integrity.

 

Those amendments to Bill C-40 should explicitly state that Ontario’s existing provincial policies and plans that enhance ecological integrity of the proposed Rouge National Urban Park will be met or exceeded. The amendments should also include a commitment that the federal government will conform to provincial policies such as the Greenbelt Plan (2005), the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Big Move.

Major environmental groups applaud Ontario’s refusal to transfer Rouge Park lands

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… the draft federal legislation does not prioritize ecological integrity in park management and it does not honour a January 2013 Memorandum of Agreement signed between Parks Canada and the Ontario government requiring written park policies that ‘meet or exceed provincial policies.’

NGO media statement (September 3, 2014) applauds provincial meet or exceed stance.

NGO media statement (Sept. 3, 2014) applauds provincial meet or exceed stance. Click on image to view PDF.

Third Edition of “How Much Habitat is Enough?”

How Much Habitat is Enough? Third Edition

Click image to download PDF.

This publication FroM Environment CANADA is used in “land use planning, restoration projects and land securement initiatives across the multiple jurisdictions and has become a standard conservation biology and landscape ecology reference.”
Some of this publication’s key recommendations …
  • 30% to 50% minimum forest cover,
  • the greater of 10% wetland cover per watershed or 40% of historic wetland cover,
  • less than 10% impervious cover in a watershed
  • average grassland patches sizes of greater than or equal to 50 hectares.

Environmental coalition recommendations for a healthy Rouge national park

In January this letter from Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature, and Friends of the Rouge Watershed was sent to Canada’s environment minister, park staff, and many MPs in the Greater Toronto Area. It explains why a sustainable and ecologically healthy 100 km2 Rouge national park is necessary if the Rouge watershed is to be adequately protected.

Coalition explains why the park should be bigger

If you need more information about the Rouge watershed, the park, or this concept you can read the articles on this site or get a quick overview from some of the graphical content.

Politicians supporting a 100-square-kilometre Rouge national park

Below are links to recent letters from politicians to Canada’s environment minister that help explain why a sustainable and ecologically healthy 100 km2 Rouge National Park is necessary if the Rouge watershed is to be adequately protected.

April 2014: National Rouge Park Letter from Scarborough Rouge River MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan

2014-03-18: Hon John Mckay Letter to Hon. Leona Aglukkaq – Rouge National Park Strategic Plan & Legislation

2014-03-24: Councillor Karen Stintz- Letter in Support of the Rouge National Park to the Federal Minister of the Environment

If you need more information about the Rouge watershed, the park, or this concept you can read the articles on this site or get a quick overview from our infographic.

Petition asks feds to respect and strengthen existing plans for the Rouge and establish a sustainable 100 km2 national park

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In celebration of Canadian Environment Week (June 2-8, 2013), MPs Rathika Sitsabaiesan, John McKay, Kirsty Duncan, Elizabeth May and John McCallum submitted copies of the Rouge National Park petition — signed by a total of 3200 Canadians — to the federal government.

The petition asks the government to respect and strengthen existing Rouge Park Plans and establish an ecologically healthy and sustainable 100 km2 Rouge National Park that links Lake Ontario to the heart of the Oak Ridges Moraine with publicly-owned Greenbelt lands.

You can access the petition online at http://www.change.org/petitions/create-a-sustainable-ecologically-healthy-100-square-kilometre-rouge-national-park

Over the last 25 years, visionary federal, provincial and municipal political leaders have listened to the public and worked together to create the existing Rouge Park, a Greenbelt gem near Toronto.

In May of 2012, the federal government announced a plan to create a Rouge National Urban Park and a park concept document was released. “Unfortunately, the draft national park concept is critically inconsistent with the vision, plans and legislative framework already developed for the current Rouge Park,” says Jim Robb of Friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW). “Continuing in this direction would undermine the park’s ecological health, water quality, First Nation heritage and visitor enjoyment potential.”

And it’s not only community groups like FRW who are worried about the proposed concept of the park. Local MPs Rathika Sitsabaiesan and John McKay have commented on the new “National Urban Park” concept.

“The vision of approved Rouge Park Management Plans (1994 and 2001) centres on the protection and appreciation of the park ecosystem,” says MP John McKay, who went on to say that “the federal government should create a 100 km2 Rouge National Park which supports and implements this longstanding public vision.”

“During the creation of Rouge National Park, the federal government has a clear responsibility to strengthen and implement the vision and objectives of existing Rouge Park Plans,” says MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan. “That includes the Provincial Greenbelt Plan, the Rouge Natural Heritage Action Plan (2008) and the International Agreement for improving Great Lakes water quality.”

MP Kirsty Duncan, Etobicoke North riding, has stated that “the publicly-owned lands surrounding the Rouge River in Toronto, Markham and Pickering should be permanently protected.  A 100 km2 Park will protect and restore part of Canada’s endangered Carolinian Life Zone, improve the quality of water returning to Lake Ontario and Toronto Area beaches, and provide millions of Canadians with a transit-accessible National Park.”

The new National Park will not only serve millions of residents in the GTA, but all Canadians and visitors alike.

“Having worked on protection of the Rouge since the late 1980’s, I wish I could be more enthusiastic of the current plans,” says MP Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party. At this point they fall far short of the protection and restoration of a sustainable natural habitat system which links Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine. It is critical that we defend Canadians’ ability to appreciate this beautiful part of Canada’s endangered Carolinian and mixed woodland ecological zones.”

In celebration of Canadian Environment Week, MPs Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Chris Alexander, John McKay, Kirsty Duncan and Elizabeth May will submit copies of the Rouge National Park petition, signed by a total of 3200 Canadians.

The petition asks the federal government to respect and strengthen existing Rouge Park Plans and establish an ecologically healthy and sustainable 100 km2 Rouge National Park which links Lake Ontario to the heart of the Oak Ridges Moraine with publicly owned Greenbelt lands.

The theme of Canadian Environment Week is Water: Working Together. “By voicing public concerns and working together, these MPs are encouraging the Canadian Government to create a healthy 100 km2 Rouge National Park which will help to protect and restore water quality, ecological health and public health within Toronto’s Great Lakes water quality “Area of Concern,” says Mr. Robb.

You can access the petition online at http://www.change.org/petitions/create-a-sustainable-ecologically-healthy-100-square-kilometre-rouge-national-park