Parks Canada and partners take first step toward creating a national urban park in St. John’s

by ahnationtalk on July 8, 202415 Views

From: Parks Canada

July 8, 2024

Improved access to nature and greenspace near where people live, work, and play is vital to their wellbeing. National urban parks benefit biodiversity and are a natural solution to help offset the impacts of climate change.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Danny Breen, Mayor of St. John’s, announced the signing of a Statement of Collaboration confirming their shared commitment to explore options for the creation of a national urban park in St. John’s.

The new park would improve access to nature and greenspace for residents of St. John’s as well as visitors and provide opportunities to amplify and honour Indigenous voices and stories. It would also create jobs, strengthen the local economy, and complement local and regional tourism.

The path toward designation of a national urban park in St. John’s will be explored over the coming years through meaningful collaboration and cooperation with partners and stakeholders. As potential sites are assessed, possible connections to existing heritage places administered by Parks Canada, including Signal Hill National Historic Site and Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site, may be considered.

National urban parks provide habitat for animals, including species at risk, and can serve as crucial corridors for wildlife. They are great examples of nature-based climate solutions, helping to cool cities and absorb rainwater during extreme weather events. They contribute to Canada’s climate change objectives by sequestering carbon, and to the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserve 30 per cent of lands and waters in Canada by 2030.

As the collaboration advances, Parks Canada and the City of St. John’s will engage and work with other key local and regional organizations and land holders to ensure the potential park protects nature, connects people with nature and advances reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

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Additional multimedia

Participants at the announcement for the potential new national urban park in St. John’s. Photo: Joshua Jamieson, Parks Canada

Quotes

“Improving access to nature and greenspace is essential for the wellbeing of our communities. The signing of this Statement of Collaboration between Parks Canada and the City of St. John’s is a significant step towards creating a national urban park in this beautiful city, which will offer residents and visitors a chance to connect with nature, support local economies, and honor Indigenous stories. This initiative aligns with our broader commitment to conserve 30 per cent of Canada’s lands and waters by 2030 and showcases the power of nature-based solutions in our fight against climate change.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“A national urban park would be the first of its kind in our province, and an incredible asset for our region. That’s why this Statement of Collaboration is an invaluable first step in a process which will bring our community closer to nature and reconciliation.”

Joanne Thompson
Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, Newfoundland and Labrador

“Every action we take to protect our environment and lower greenhouse gas emissions matters. Today’s announcement to create more greenspace in the St. John’s area is a positive step along the path to adapting to our changing climate. I commend the City of St. John’s and the federal government as they collaborate on this exciting initiative, helping to ensure our province is environmentally sustainable for future generations.”

The Honourable Bernard Davis
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“The City of St. John’s is thrilled to sign this Statement of Collaboration with Parks Canada, which will bring us one step closer to creating a new national urban park to be enjoyed by residents, visitors, and wildlife. This initiative aligns with several of the City of St. John’s goals and priorities. It will help build a more connected city, one where people can not only connect with each other but also with nature. The national urban park will also help advance our sustainability goals and provide a new opportunity to celebrate and honour the diverse cultures, contributions, and resilience of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.”

Danny Breen
Mayor, City of St. John’s

Quick facts

  • The vast network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada is a gateway to nature, history, and 450 000 km² of stories from coast to coast to coast.
  • New national urban parks will be managed under a range of flexible governance models, including federally administered places, third-party administered places, and various partnership approaches.
  • In addition to the city of St. John’s, collaborative work is underway to designate national urban parks in the Victoria region, BC; the Edmonton region, AB; the Saskatoon region, SK; Winnipeg, MB; Windsor, ON; and Halifax, NS. Parks Canada has also held early discussions in the Greater Montreal Region, QC.
  • With its well-known network of urban cultural heritage sites, as well as Rouge National Urban Park, Parks Canada has a strong presence and a long history of conservation in urban areas.

Associated links

Contacts
Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

Jackie O’Brien
709-576-8491
jobrien@stjohns.ca

NT6

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