Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | April 14, 2011

Reply from Minister Lake

Many of us who recently sent letters to our new Minister of Environment Terry Lake got a standard form letter reply from him. (Note that someone on the Minister’s staff may need to re-read the form letter documentation!). Here is the form letter, and a replies to that letter by Renee Poisson, Darrell Tomkins, and Gordon L McFarlane. (Bob St.John)

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On 2011-04-13, at 2:33 PM, WWW ENVMail ENV:EX wrote:

EMAIL RESPONSE

Reference: 137101«Log_ID»

April 13, 2011

Renee«First_Name» Poisson«Last_Name»
Email: reneepoisson@xxxxxxx«Email_address»

Dear Ms.«Salutation» Poisson«Last_Name»:

Thank you for your email of February 3, 2011«Date_Written», addressed to Mr. Murray Coell, former Minister of Environment, regarding the granting of a Park Use Permit to the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. As the newly appointed Minister of Environment, I am pleased to respond.

The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, which is located outside of Strathcona Provincial Park, has applied for a Park Use Permit to conduct commercial horse trips on an old road bed located within the park’s boundaries. BC Parks has reviewed the permit within the scope of the current master plan’s language and zoning, as well as conducted a thorough impact assessment process to ensure that there are no impacts to the park. Based on the results of the review and assessment, a decision has been made to issue the Park Use Permit to the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.

All commercial activities within provincial parks must be conducted under a valid Park Use Permit. Currently, there are several commercial operators conducting business in many provincial parks, including Strathcona Provincial Park. For example, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort already has an existing Park Use Permit for recreation hiking and guiding. The Park Use Permit allows a commercial operator to conduct business in the park, undertaking the same activities that can be undertaken by members of the public, but under a set of conditions to control the type and amount of activity.

Thank you for writing and sharing your concerns.

Sincerely,

Original Signed By

Terry Lake
Minister of Environment

***********************************************************

From: Renée Poisson
Date: April 14, 2011 11:30:53 AM PDT
To: “WWW ENVMail ENV:EX”
Subject: Re: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort’s Park Use Permit

Dear Terry Lake,

I am surprised and disappointed that you would claim that horses and their requirements will have no impact on the Park trail. There is much evidence to the contrary, as I’m sure you must know. I have no problem with allowing a “commercial operator to conduct business in the park, undertaking the same activities that can be undertaken by members of the public, but under a set of conditions to control the type and amount of activity”. Allowing horses into the park in this wilderness area does not fall into the above description, and will certainly affect the quality of the hiking experience for all the people who come a long way to experience the Bedwell Trail.

As Minister of the Environment you are responsible to all members of the public. It would appear most undemocratic to ignore the recommendations of the Strathcona Park Advisory Committee in favour of a very exclusive resort.

It’s hard for me to express in words how devastated I am by this undemocratic process. It is I as a taxpayer who pays your salary and gives you your position as Minister of the Environment. It now seems that the members of the general public who value and care for the Park are not important to you.

Please address my concern. Your action flies in the face of the democratic process.

Sincerely,
Renée Poisson
Box 68
Merville V0R 2M0

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Dear Minister of Environment Terry Lake,

I received your response to my email of February 2, 2011 yesterday. I was disappointed by the lack of understanding of the issues and process surrounding the granting of a Park Use Permit to allow horse trail development and use in Strathcona Provincial Park.

First, you stated that the permit was “within the scope of the current master plan”. This appears to be disingenuous, implying that you were not aware that there had been a carefully considered Master Plan that had been developed with input from all stakeholders following the 1988 blockade, and that the accepted Plan had to be modified to accommodate the Park Use Permit application requested by the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort to conduct commercial horse trips in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Furthermore it is obfuscating to state that the commercial horse trips would be “on an old road bed located within the park’s boundaries.” The old road is well along in the process of recovering from the damage caused by previous mining and logging activities in the Park and returning to a more natural state. It is not in suitable condition for horse trail use at the moment and would require considerable development by the Resort.

Third, I personally reviewed the impact assessment documents, which were never intended “to ensure that there are no impacts to the park.” The assessment focussed solely on mitigation of the damage that would be incurred by the use of horses in the natural environment that a BC Class A park is supposed to preserve. The environmental impact of the damage that would be caused by horse trail use in the west coast environment of the Bedwell Valley has never been assessed.

You end by equating recreation hiking and guiding, with horse trail riding. It is apparent that you haven’t seen the vastly different impacts of these activities. Furthermore you seem to justify the permission of commercial operators to use the Park because they are “undertaking the same activities that can be undertaken by members of the public”. This is also patently incorrect as the general public do not bring horses into the Park.

I hope that you can take leadership in the stewarding of protection and preservation of the unique and precious environments in our BC Provincial Parks and in particular, in Strathcona Provincial Park on the 100th anniversary of its establishment.

Sincerely

Darrell J. Tomkins

Darrell J. Tomkins, Ph. D., F.C.C.M.G.
Professor Emeritus of Medical Genetics
University of Alberta

137 Port Augusta Street
Comox, BC V9M 3N8

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Thankyou for making time to acknowledge and reply..
Unfortunately your comments are factually misleading, inaccurate.

To avoid making such errors, i suggest you acquaint yourself with the public’s Strathcona Park proper and the issues of this permit application.

The Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee, which is hand picked by BC Parks, (raising a question of their inherent biase), recommended this permit be rejected, after 6 years of deliberation, and SPPAC did not support the Master Plan Amendment allowing expanded horse use in Strathcona Park.

Note: The vast majority of the public’s response was in opposition to CWR’s PUP application. The public voiced their opposition in the form of letters to your office, and their documented comments at the public meetings inappropriately conducted on how “to mitigate horse impact in Strathcona Park”.

The old road bed you reference, is in very poor condition, with 20 to 40 % destroyed/not passable..
( the estimate of the washout, the impassable, the altered, varies significantly whether the opinion is from an individual for or against horses in the Bedwell valley, Strathcona Park).
To utilize this old road bed/trail, will require major restoration ( very big bucks ), including the construction of 3 bridges of horse bearing capacity..( more very big bucks).
The permit application – if indeed granted, will provide virtual exclusivity of horse use in Strathcona Park to CWR! No individual will water taxi a horse into the Bedwell area of the Park.. And the only access to the land adjacent to Strathcona Park is through the applicant’s private lands, (owned by the Genovese Family Trust …Q: who are these people and what is the source of their money? Please -Who exactly, are committing the public sign a long term contract with ?)

At this point, I must insist that you start making sense.

Further, Please establish for yourself, how many horse riders make use of the original 3 roadways in that Park that allowed horses for the last 20 years, and how many have any intention of using the new additions designated for horse use. This suggestion that the public will undertake this activity ( horse riding) is purely fictional, a bogus attempt to justify a park use permit to a commercial operator in a provincial park. ( owned by the public, intrusted to their government of the day – You ).

If I have stirred you to search out the truth here, then please get right to it Mr Minister T. Lake.
I have offered you sufficient threads to follow, at this time i will close.

Do be free to contact me to discuss further.

Gordon L McFarlane

Black Creek BC.

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Responses

  1. **STRATHCONA MUST NOT DIE**

    WE -CAN- SAVE THIS PARK! “It Begins With Us”

    NOTHING CAN, OR, EVER WILL STOP PUBLIC OPINION, & A PUBLIC AWARE THEY CAN CHANGE THINGS. NOTHING CAN STOP THIS…EVER……

    “NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF THOUGHTFUL,COMMITTED & HIGHLY MOTIVATED GROUP OF CITIZENS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
    INDEED IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS”
    —- MARGARET MEAD —

    THE FRIENDS OF STRATHCONA PARK HAVE PROVEN THIS OVER AND OVER, AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND THEY (We) WILL THIS TIME…….

    >>>STRATHCONA PARK MUST NOT DIE <<< **WE WILL NOT LET IT**


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