Funds will be used to manage and operate the 21 square kilometres of new lands
recently committed to Rouge National Urban Park
TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, Paul Calandra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs and Member of Parliament for Oak Ridges—Markham, and Corneliu Chisu, Member of Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced a significant new investment in Rouge National Urban Park. The Government of Canada is contributing an additional $26.8 million over six years and $3 million annually thereafter to operate and manage the 21 square kilometres of new lands recently announced by the Prime Minister on July 11, 2015.
The new lands, located in the City of Pickering and Township of Uxbridge, include a diverse mix of natural, cultural and agricultural lands. The park's expansion will increase the boundaries of Canada's first national urban park by more than 36 per cent, making it one of the largest and best protected urban parks in the world, spanning 79.5 square kilometres once fully established.
Parks Canada will use the additional funding for the conservation and restoration of the Rouge's natural, cultural and agricultural resources and the protection and recovery of endangered species as well as to manage and improve existing facilities and develop new educational and visitor facilities, build trails, expand the park's law enforcement capacity, in addition to investing in community stewardship initiatives and visitor opportunities.
With today's announcement, the Government of Canada's full investment dating back to 2012 now totals $170.5 million over 10 years for Rouge National Urban Park's establishment and protection, and $10.6 million annually for its continuing management and operation.
- Rouge National Urban Park, is 19 times larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver, 22 times larger than Central Park in New York, and close to 50 times larger than Toronto's High Park.
- Parks Canada, in collaboration with farmers, community organizations, First Nations, and conservation groups, has already begun work on 15 ecosystem restoration projects on lands in the Markham portion of Rouge National Urban Park, including aquatic habitat restoration along four tributaries of the Little Rouge Creek that will lead to improvements in the health of the park's ecosystems and agricultural lands.
- Rouge National Urban Park is home to a unique combination of natural, cultural and agricultural features –1,700 species of plants, birds, fish, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians; more than 10,000 years of human history; and large tracts of Class 1 farmland, the rarest, most fertile and endangered in the country.
- Rouge National Urban Park's close proximity to 20 per cent of Canada's population will give more Canadians than ever before the opportunity to experience a national park and learn about and connect with our country's natural, cultural and agricultural heritage.
"With its historic commitment to the Rouge National Urban Park, the Harper Government has taken the only real action of any government in the last 40 years to protect and respect the rights of farmers on these lands while also instituting the strongest environmental protections in history. Agricultural protections for the Rouge Valley have been a personal priority of mine even before I was first elected. It makes me incredibly proud that the Rouge National Urban Park will now remain a critical element of Canada's significant landscape of national protected areas in perpetuity."
- Paul Calandra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs and Member of Parliament for Oak Ridges—Markham
"The transfer of the additional lands in Pickering and Uxbridge to Parks Canada was a welcome decision by the community. The environmental protection of these lands, the protection of farm lands and the vision to connect trails from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine and then through Uxbridge and onto the Trans Canada Trail is all very exciting."
- Corneliu Chisu, Member of Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East
SOURCE Parks Canada
For further information: Jonathan Lefebvre, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Media Relations,Parks Canada, 1-855-862-1812, www.twitter.com/parkscanada