September 13-20, 2004

Ontario to conduct first revew of parks legislation in 50 years

Ontario is initiating the first major review of the province's parks legislation in 50 years. The review will encompass the various acts and regulations governing provincial parks, conservation reserves and wilderness areas. These include the Provincial Parks Act, the Conservation Reserves Regulation under the Public Lands Act, and the Wilderness Areas Act.

When the Provincial Parks Act was last reviewed in 1954, there were only eight provincial parks. Today there are 316 parks, 249 conservation reserves and 10 wilderness areas in the province. Public expectations about protected areas and how they should be managed, the interests of stakeholders and the science of environmental protection have all changed significantly over time. Updating and modernizing the legislation will help keep Ontario's network of parks and conservation areas strong and healthy, noted Natural Resources Minister David Ramsey.

Ample opportunity will be provided for public consultation. The Ministry of Natural Resources has developed a discussion paper and a questionnaire designed to explain the key legislative proposals; comments may be submitted until November 8, 2004.

An on-line version of the questionnaire is available and can be easily accessed by following links at www.OntarioParks.com or www.mnr.gov.on.ca. It may also be found on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry at www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/ebr/english/ (Registry Number AB04E6001).

The questionnaire will also be available at a series of informational open houses to be held in the following nine Ontario communities: Timmins, North Bay, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Huntsville, Ottawa, London and Toronto. The government will meet with stakeholders and Aboriginal communities as well.

Print copies of the discussion paper may be requested from: Protected Areas Legislation Review, Ministry of Natural Resources, PO Box 7000, 300 Water St, Peterborough, Ont K9J 8M5.

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