Strathcona fans blast province for lack of action
Supporters of Strathcona Park slammed the provincial government for failing to live up to their bargain to include the public in any decision about the park's future. Dr. Bruce Wood, a director and past president of the Friends of Strathcona Park, said the plan to hold only two public meetings to arrive at a master plan for the park is ridiculous. "Holding only two meetings is certainly inadequate," said Wood.
The most striking thing is their failure to follow one of the most important recommendations of the Larkin report which said it was mandatory to involve the public," he said. The Strathcona Park Steering Committee will hold a public meeting in Campbell River on Wednesday and one in Port Alberni on Thursday.
Ron Lampard, Strathcona District Manager for the Park Ministry and a member of the committee, said meetings were being held to come up with a master plan for the park's future. Wood said to have meetings in those two towns failed to give opportunity to other British Columbians to speak out. "Nobody in Victoria will get a chance to speak at the meeting," he said.
Lampard said Campbell River and Port Hardy were considered the two areas with the highest degree of interest in Strathcona Park. "Vancouver has only moderate interest. Victoria has only moderate interest," he said. Lampard also said interested people can submit a presentation in writing to the committee at any time.
Strathcona Park has been the subject of controversy since the provincial government in 1987 announced changes to boundaries that would allow more mining and mineral exploration. Environmentalists and supporters of the park fought battles with mining and exploration crews by blocking roads and some protesters ended up going to court.
1988, the province halted all new mineral exploration into the park after
a committee headed by Dr. Peter Larkin lambasted the government for allowing
Strathcona to become a mess. And last June the province upgraded land
classifications in the 211,253 hectares of the park and cancelled mining.