Possible Colwood landing point for federally funded national park

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The town of Colwood has been added to the shortlist of a new federally funded park under the National Urban Park Program, a program focused on adding green space to cities.

Parks Canada budgeted just over $ 130 million for the program, with Colwood on the shortlist of six possible cities to house a new urban national park.

Besides Colwood, the list includes Winnipeg, Halifax, Windsor, Edmonton and Montreal.

Parks Canada is pushing the expansion of urban green spaces after noting the key role parks have played in the well-being of Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With 72 percent of Canadians living in urban centers, Parks Canada says this new program will help expand access to the benefits of nature in these regions.

While nothing has been finalized with the City of Colwood, Parks Canada says it has identified the area as a potential urban park site.

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“The Town of Colwood is pleased to explore possibilities with Parks Canada for a potential national urban park in our seaside community,” said Rob Martin, Mayor of Colwood.

“We look forward to working respectfully with First Nations partners to understand their interests and priorities for urban parks. As a city known for its connection to nature, with beautiful beaches, lush forests, and beautiful parks and trails, Colwood is an ideal location for an urban park.

The park system will include areas managed under a range of flexible governance models, including federally administered places, third party administered places and partnership models.

The National Urban Parks Program will also contribute to Canada’s commitment to protect biodiversity and conserve 25 percent of land and inland waters and 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, reaching 30 percent of ‘by 2030.

Parks Canada says it will also work closely with Indigenous partners to ensure that national urban parks provide space for Indigenous stewardship, promote Indigenous voices and stories, and provide opportunities for connections with Indigenous peoples. land and water based on indigenous knowledge and values.

Funding of $ 130 million for the National Urban Parks Program will come from a $ 2.3 billion allocation in Canada’s Natural Heritage, which was announced for the 2021 federal budget.

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