Ongoing Meewasin Consultations Seeking the Creation of a National Urban Park for Saskatoon – Saskatoon | The Canadian News

The Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA) and its partners are taking the first step in a multi-year process that may result in a national urban park for Saskatoon.

Between now and March, the conservation organization will conduct a series of focus groups, interviews, meetings and surveys on its jurisdiction and governance model. Currently, the MVA is responsible for maintaining the largest urban conservation area in Canada, which includes more than 90 km of trails.

Read more:

Ottawa announces $130 million for a network of national urban parks, including Meewasin Valley

“We will also engage people to look at the vision, so what is possible if we worked towards a national urban park designation,” said Andrea Lafond, executive director of the MVA.

It’s the first step for Meewasin as part of a national initiative announced in August, devoting up to $130 million to a network of urban parks in Canada. The program is designed to support access to nature within cities, while protecting biodiversity.

The story continues below the ad

The organization has created a steering committee that includes its funding partners: the City of Saskatoon, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan. The Saskatoon Tribal Council, Métis Nation–Saskatchewan, Wanuskewin, RM of Corman Park, and the federal government are also involved.

The region has exceeded growth projections set when Meewasin was created in 1978, according to Lafond.

Read more:

Could Edmonton host a new national park?

“Today we are sitting on 327,000 people within a 15 kilometer radius of the Meewasin Valley,” Lafond said. “So it’s time to take a look at the jurisdiction as well as the governance structure and funding models.

The organization faced financial difficulties in 2017 when Saskatchewan cut its funding by $409,000, almost half of what the authority received the previous year.

Designation as a national urban park could generate new funding from the federal government.

During a news conference in August, Parks Canada Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said “the federal government is willing to do its part with regard to financial contributions.”

Funding considerations would take place during the second phase of the process, which has not been scheduled.

Read more:

Meewasin Valley Authority funding reduced by $409K in Saskatchewan budget

The story continues below the ad

In an interview, Mayor Charlie Clark said that having the support of the federal government “would be huge” for Meewasin.

As a nonprofit organization, the MVA can raise money, use student internships and create partnerships in a less expensive way than the city’s private sector, Clark said.

“Saskatoon is really at the forefront of creating these kinds of partnerships,” Clark said.

Other cities that have signed national urban park agreements with the federal government, including Winnipeg, Halifax, Windsor, and Colwood, BC

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Leave a Comment