One Year After the Protected Areas Plan has been Released, the “What We Heard” Report is Public!
St. John’s – The Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-NL) is pleased today to see the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has released a “What We Heard” report on behalf of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council (WERAC) (a volunteer advisory group), compiling feedback for the proposed Protected Areas Plan for the Island of Newfoundland, entitled A Home for Nature.
The “What we Heard” report has captured the concerns, comments, and recommendations brought forward by the public, whether in favor entirety, partial or in opposition of the plan.
“It is evident from this report that the majority of residents no matter their position of the plan, value our natural areas,” states Ms. Tanya Edwards, Executive Director CPAWS NL. “We urge the provincial government to provide support to WERAC and provincial staff, to adequately undertake transparent consultations with the public as we move into the next phase for implementing a long overdue Protected Areas Plan for the island of Newfoundland.”
The plan which was initially devised by the Newfoundland and Labrador government several decades ago, is based on scientific evidence and guidance over 25 years. The candidate sites represent some unspoiled areas or low impacted sites, critical habitat for various species of plants and wildlife, unique features and as well as representation of various eco-regions that may be unique.
Our provincial government is currently one of the last provinces to build such a plan; currently the province has only protected 6.7% of the Island of Newfoundland which is below the national average of 10%. Canada has committed to protect 25% of lands and inland waters by the end of 2025, a deadline that is fast approaching.
“The time is now to take action and protect our natural spaces. Open dialogue and community engagement is key to success to ensure we protect our natural environment” adds Ms. Suzanne Dooley, Conservation Director CPAWS NL. “We need to strike a balance and work together to ensure we leave space for our future generations to enjoy!”