Restoration projects announced at opening of new welcome area for Canada's first national urban park
MARKHAM, ON, July 28, 2015 /CNW/ - 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, today announced a $15-million investment in conservation for Rouge National Urban Park. The announcement was made in Markham, Ontario, at the official opening of the new welcome area for Canada's first national urban park.
The Harper Government, in collaboration with farmers, the community, First Nations, and conservation groups, will begin the 15 ecosystem restoration projects on lands in Markham that are part of the new urban park.
This significant investment by the Government of Canada demonstrates its conservation leadership and supports Canada's National Conservation Plan by conserving and restoring the urban park's natural, cultural and agricultural heritage. These funds will be used to protect and recover endangered species, restore native forests, wetlands and meadows, enhance the health and productivity of park farmland, measure the park's biodiversity, and inventory and protect the Rouge's archaeological and cultural heritage sites, among other activities.
The Rouge National Urban Park is being afforded the strongest protections of any urban park in the world, with unique legislation – the historic Rouge National Urban Park Act and multi-million dollar investments to conserve and restore it, and ensure year-round enforcement.
- On July 11, 2015, Prime Minister Harper announced a significant expansion of Rouge National Urban Park, with an addition of 21 km2 (2,104 hectares) of land to the park in Pickering and Uxbridge– making it 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.
- Rouge National Urban Park is home to a unique combination of natural, cultural and agricultural features – including: 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.
- The new welcome area is the first of many visitor facilities and will be housed in one of Parks Canada's signature oTENTik lodgings – the popular cross between a tent and a rustic cabin found at national parks and national historic sites across 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.
"As a world leader in conservation, our Government is making an unprecedented commitment to conserve and restore Rouge National Urban Park. Our number one priority is to protect the Rouge and all of its natural, cultural and agricultural resources. Canada's first national urban park will be a gateway for millions of Canadians to discover our country's remarkable natural heritage."
Paul Calandra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs and Member of Parliament for Oak Ridges—Markham
"Our Government is taking bold action to protect and restore the Rouge to a level never achieved before. In support of the National Conservation Plan, these restoration projects will improve the health of the park's agricultural lands, and bring tangible and measureable conservation benefits to Rouge National Urban Park. The future of Rouge National Urban Park is one that will be healthier with stronger protections thanks to the steps our government has taken."
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