MLA COLUMN: Calling all West Country, Bighorn area users.

MLA COLUMN: Calling all West Country, Bighorn area users.

MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr

The provincial government is again going through the sham process of consultations to vindicate a decision they have already committed to.

They intent to create a Provincial Park in the Bighorn area.

They organized a “consultation” but then official opposition MLAs received a leaked document indicating that they already know what they intend to do.

They partnered with foreign funded Y2Y and CPAWS to promote this and garner petition signatures. They got 2100 signatures, not by going to local people who frequent our backyard but from Calgary and Edmonton environmentalists, with companies like MEC pushing it to customers.

But when a meeting was held, in Dovercourt, by a consortium of local user groups no one from the government would even come to hear their concerns.

There are many local user groups that have a deep vested interest in the area and provide stewardship: Bighorn Heritage ATV Society, Friends of the Eastern Slopes Association, The Snowmobile Clubs, the Alberta Equine Confederation, an informal group of Mountain Bike Riders and 5 counties involved in stewardship.

These and others combined have invested well over a million dollars in conservation and thousands of hours of volunteer time. They have created bridges, trails, campgrounds with donated money and labour.

But CPAWS and Y2Y are lobbying the government for more restrictions. They want a park like the Castle created last year.

If they succeed all the local user groups may well find themselves shut out of camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, cycling, horse riding, OHV and snowmobile use.

Why does the government partner in private with environmental groups and refuse to talk to local stewardship managers?

The targeted area is 5000 sq. km in the six public land use zones, PLUZs, Blackstone Wapiabi, Dormer Sheep, Job/Cline, Kiska/Wilson, Panther Corners, Upper Clearwater/Ram.

This decision by the government would also have a significant impact on the resource industries in those areas and create further economic challenges and loss of employment for central Albertans.

Folks if you have any interest in your freedom to access and use these public lands you need to lobby the Provincial Government.

Learn how to organize. Mobilize people. Unite groups. Pressure Government Ministers.

If you don’t, or expect someone else to, your plans for next summer in the back country may be radically altered. You may never again have the freedoms you are about to lose. Your children will be curtailed to paved parking lots and government run campgrounds.

Support a conservation group. There is more that should be done for conservation, but allowing government to restrict your enjoyment and access to public lands is not the solution.

This government has decided what it wants to do. It listens only to their chosen lobbyists for consultation and shuts you, the local Albertan, out of the conversation.

What are you going to do about it?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any issue, feel free to contact my constituency office at 403 782 7725 or email Lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca or write 101 4892 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4.

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Most Read