LEGAL CHALLENGE AGAINST PARKS CANADA IS DISMISSED CONSERVATION GROUPS REMAIN HOPEFUL
A federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge claiming Parks Canada does not have the legal authority to consider overnight accommodations at Maligne Lake.
On behalf of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and the Jasper Environmental Association (JEA), Ecojustice was arguing that former JNP superintendent Greg Fenton should not have been allowed to green light consideration of tent cabins at Maligne Lake because it would require a change to the management plan. However, a February 8 decision by Justice James Russell ruled that considering a proposal and changing the management plan are separate processes.
“In my view, Parks Canada cannot be prevented from considering project proposals. And project proposals cannot be accepted or implemented unless they comply with a validly enacted and/or amended management plan,” Judge Russell wrote in his decision.
Although they lost the case, CPAWS and the JEA are taking solace in the fact that the judge crystallized the idea that there won’t be approval of any development which goes against the management plan.
Parks Canada has said it has a rigorous review process. “The ruling is confirmation that ... the superintendent’s decision ... was reasonable,” a statement said.
JEA Chair Jill Seaton is pleased that the current government has already shown to be more interested in limiting development than its predecessor.
“The Minister has said they will limit development…we’re not discouraged,” Seaton said.