EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government must show it supports consultation by holding open houses and expanding the timeline for public feedback on the Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildlands Provincial Park Management Plans from 60 to 120 days, Wildrose Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier said.
The NDP has already implemented a number of changes that have significantly impacted the public use of the Castle area, including banning the recreational use of highway vehicles like Jeeps and other 4x4s from travelling off the main roads. The government has also restricted the use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to designated trails only and banned them from use south of Highway 774 in the new park. This contradicts the guidelines for permitted uses that were released when the Castle Provincial Park was first announced in September 2015.
“The NDP is once again pressing ahead with ideological changes to areas where true, public consultation is needed,” Stier said. “The Castle area is a world-class destination for people who love to camp and experience the natural outdoors. By phasing OHVs out entirely within five years and restricting their use today, the government is contradicting the permitted uses it made in 2015.”
Stier said a survey distributed by the government asked leading questions about the changes and cannot be considered true consultation. He said an extension to 120 days would allow for the government to conduct multiple, public consultation sessions to garner feedback.
“The survey the NDP sent around was a sham designed to get the answers they wanted,” Stier said. “The NDP should open up the timeline for feedback and hold open houses for the public to allow the people of this region to finally be heard.”
Stier will be holding a Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 7th 2017 from 7:30 to 10:00 pm at the M.D. McEachern Community Centre, 2802 – 222 St. Bellevue, Alta in conjunction with the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.