Now that the Rouge's foliage is lush and green, it appears that we have entered press conference season.
In its second presser in the Rouge in the past few weeks, Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that he is 'pleased' with the progress towards establishing Rouge National Park.
Despite being a bit light on actual news content, today's announcement should be more of a crowd pleaser than the Minister's much criticized sojourn to the United Nations Rio+20 Conference last week.
With the Rouge as backdrop, the Minister offered details about this summer's public consultation process and announced that a new superintendent had been selected for Canada's first urban National Park — fittingly from Banff, Canada's first and oldest National Park.
The government is seeking input through three evening public consultation sessions this summer, in Scarborough (July 17), Markham (July 24), and Pickering (August 14). For those outside the GTA, Parks Canada is collecting input through a six question online survey. While the consultation clearly isn't breathtaking in scope, it is encouraging that it is proceeding this summer.
As you can imagine, we will be encouraging folks to participate in this process. We want to ensure that the Rouge's rich ecological, cultural and agricultural history is maintained and permanently protected. This means a full 6,000-hectare National Park with appropriate buffers and wildlife corridors that will ensure the Rouge isn't a protected island in a sea of sprawl. And legislation that sets a strong precedent for future urban National Parks across the country.
Stay tuned for more Rouge news.