Gateway Gazette

Castle Issue Only Going to Get Worse until NDP Agrees to Consult: Wildrose

EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government will need to respond to the increasing number of Albertans upset by the lack of consultation happening around amended restrictions to activities in the Castle Region, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.

A town hall meeting Tuesday organized by the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad and the Hillcrest Fish and Game Association saw more than 800 guests show up and voice their concerns about the new restrictions to previously permitted uses in the Castle Region. Some of these changes include banning licensed highway vehicles from off-road use and restricting off-highway vehicles like quads and snowmobiles to designated trail use only, before they’re completely banned in the next three to five years.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the NDP government needs to start listening to stakeholders and ordinary Albertans before it makes major decisions that affect people’s way of life.

“The NDP should be listening to the many hundreds of Albertans who travelled from across the province to voice their concerns Tuesday,” Jean said. “Albertans cherish the natural beauty of the Castle Region and won’t accept these heavy-handed changes.”

Wildrose Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier, who also helped organize the town hall, said many of the changes the NDP government is making stand in direct contradiction to the permitted uses released in 2015.

“Once again, it’s evident that we cannot trust this NDP government,” Stier said. “They’re not living up to the promises made in the rules of permitted uses. They’re pulling the rug out on thousands of outdoors enthusiasts with very little warning and no consultation. I intend to get answers for my constituents and all Albertans affected by these drastic changes to ensure that their lifestyle choices and enjoyment of natural areas can be preserved.”

Wildrose Shadow Environment Minister Todd Loewen said Wildrose will be pushing the government to find solutions that find a balance between protecting the environment and allowing Albertans to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

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