stoltmann bill 

Stoltmann national park bill 'dies' By Andrew Mitchell On Nov. 3, the controversial bill to turn the so-called Stoltmann Wilderness Area into a national park was deemed "not votable" by the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on House and Procedural Affairs. Private Member's Bill C-236, which was introduced by Liberal MP Charles Caccia on Oct. 18, will receive a second reading and an hour of debate in Parliament on Nov. 24, but for all intensive purposes, it's considered "dead on the table." John Reynolds, the Reform Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, has been one of the Bill's most outspoken critics. "There wasn't a great support for (a national park) in my riding, or from other Members of Parliament," says Reynolds. "The WCWC (Western Canada Wilderness Committee) distributed tens of thousands of these full-colour brochures to people, asking them to clip a page and send it to my office in support of the Bill. I don't think I even received a dozen of them." Among those who spoke out against the creation of a 500,000 hectare national park in the Stoltmann area are the B.C. Helicopter and Snowcat Skiing Operators Association, the Canada West Ski Areas Association (of which Intrawest is a member), and International Forestry Products, which has logging rights in the proposed park area. "It was never (Interfor's) intent to log 1,000 year-old trees," says Reynolds. "It's a phoney issue, and to tell you the truth, I'm getting a little tired of it. "I believe the people of B.C. are already well served by provincial parks in the area. We already have one of the highest percentages and largest areas of protected park land in the world." Joe Foy, the campaign co-ordinator for the WCWC, is disappointed that the Bill will not receive a formal debate in the House of Commons. "The national park sells itself," says Foy. "If the MP's could only see the Stoltmann wilderness for what it is, it would be a shoe-in. We're disappointed that MP's won't get a chance to vote on it, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop." According to Foy, the WCWC is currently looking into other options, such as the creation of a Tribal Park that would be jointly administrated by the Squamish and Lil-wat First Nations and the provincial government. "The Squamish First Nation has already granted permission for us to study in the area," says Foy. "They don't like clear-cut logging any more than we do." Another option is to have the area named a Western Heritage Park, such as the one in the Stein Valley near Lytton, which is also a joint effort by First Nations and the provincial government. "It took 20 years to preserve the Stein Valley," says Foy. "We're prepared to take this thing as far as it can go." Even back to the House of Commons. "Thanks to the Private Member's Bill, this issue is becoming more and more well known. We've talked it over with MP's Joan Sawicki and Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, so the park proposal is getting a larger profile." The economic study of the Stoltmann area commissioned by One Whistler is still a couple of weeks from being completed. In the meantime, Foy pledges to continue to build support for the park proposal at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, as well as within the tourism industry. "A hundred years ago, you could find Grizzly bears as far south as Mexico," says Foy. "Now they're all gone to the south of us, except for a few pockets in Washington. The line has to stop here, in one of the last bastions of true wilderness on the Coast. I've never seen a park proposal that is so good, or that makes as much sense at the Stoltmann." Reynolds, who was a Minister of the Environment in Bill Bennett’s Social Credit government, says the status quo of the Stoltmann area, as determined by the Provincial Land Use act, is fine the way it is. "If they can find someone to introduce (Bill 236) again next season, I hope they get lucky." Private Member's Bills to get a reading in the House are picked at random out of a hat.

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