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Changes to ski area studies necessasry

Editor: Re: Feds propose change to environmental ski area studies (Jan.


Re: Feds propose change to environmental ski area studies (Jan. 13)

As a world leader in conservation, Parks Canada would like to reassure Canadians that proposed changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act affecting ski areas in the national parks will continue to ensure the environmental protection of these areas.

The proposed amendments would not constitute an exemption from environmental assessment requirements, but change the circumstances when comprehensive studies are required.

The current requirement for comprehensive studies dates back to a time when there were no limits to commercial development, no guidelines for ski area management, nor any defined ski area planning process in the national parks.

Under existing Parks Canada policies, a strategic environmental assessment is required for ski area site guidelines and an environmental screening would be required for a long-range plan. A comprehensive study adds little value to the process.

Proposed amendments eliminate duplication and ensure that the environmental assessment process for the ski areas is current, relevant, scaled appropriately to the project and is up-to-date with respect to the planning process used to manage ski areas in national parks.

Bill Fisher,

Director General,

Western and Northern Canada

Parks Canada