The Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association would like to inform residents of the province about our beliefs and representations regarding the “Lands for Life” Crown land use planning process.
As you may or may not be aware, the provincial government has set up three regional “roundtables” across the province. The mandate of these roundtables is to make recommendations to the minister of natural resources concerning protected areas, providing security for the resource-based tourism, timber harvesting, and mining industries, and to provide enhanced fishing and hunting opportunities for Ontarians.
While doing this, they must have respect for the sustainability of all other industries that rely on Crown land for their operations base, as well as native and aboriginal rights and concerns.
All of the above is proving to be quite a chore given the fact that almost all of our natural resources, including single-use parkland, has been over-allocated at the present time. About the only natural resource that hasn’t already been over-allocated is our minerals—and that’s only because after God endowed us with such bounty, He then did his best to hide it so we wouldn’t be able to find and use it all up quickly.
Because of all of these over-allocations, most of the old Crown land value management tools are no longer practical or suitable. For example, using “Provincial Parks” land use designations to protect certain values like biodiversity, wilderness, recreation, and natural heritage sites can’t be used totally because they are too restrictive and do not permit any resource extraction.
There simply ain’t enough land left in the province for any “single” use!
When searching for the new paradigm, we must look at the “land” first and let it tell us what it can handle and what it can’t. Then if we are truly concerned with preserving all of the values, and not just coming up with more parks, we should test the sustainability of those values with modern day technology’s ways and means of operating and protecting.
If any “value areas” cannot withstand the pressures of any kind of limited or modified development operation, then we shouldn’t permit that use. Where values can be sustained and accommodate certain operations, those uses should be permitted right across the province.
Providing security for the resource-based tourism folks isn’t perceived as a problem simply because other uses of land don’t necessarily make for conflicts. Enhanced fishing and hunting can fit in right across the board. Trapping, considered a highly proven/effective “conservation” tool, fits in with all other uses except for some wildlife preservation areas and therefore also is not a problem.
N.W.O.P.A. values our natural heritage. Please help us protect it and, at the same time, practice the principles of “wise use.”
David E. Christianson,