Meewasin is working with Parks Canada to explore the potential for a National Urban Park in the Saskatoon region.
The Government of Canada launched a new program to support the creation of a network of national urban parks. Parks Canada will collaborate with municipalities, provinces, Indigenous partners, and conservation organizations, among others, to identify opportunities for creating or expanding national urban parks in urban and near-urban settings across Canada.
An announcement was made in Saskatoon on August 4, 2021 about this exciting project.
Expanding Canadians’ access to nature is a priority for the Government of Canada, as communicated in the Speech from the Throne and in Budget 2021.The National Urban Parks Program will 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, working toward 30 percent by 2030. National urban parks are also a natural solution to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
In the Saskatoon region, Meewasin and Parks Canada will work closely with Indigenous partners to ensure national urban parks provide space for Indigenous stewardship, promote Indigenous voices and stories, and offer opportunities for connections to lands and waters based on Indigenous knowledge and values. The National Urban Parks Program represents the next evolution for Parks Canada whose history over 110 years has provided Canadians a system of national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas, and the Rouge National Urban Park established in 2015.
Meewasin is working through the Pre-feasibility Study by conducting individual interviews with key stakeholders across Saskatchewan and experts in a variety of areas across Canada.
Why a National Urban Park?
A network of urban parks will conserve biodiversity-rich, high-value ecosystems, deliver health, well-being, social cohesion and other benefits to Canadians through enhanced access to nature, and will help municipalities mitigate and adapt to climate change. Research shows that the more time people spend in urban green spaces and the more natural those areas are the greater their well-being benefits.
Over the next five years, Parks Canada will work with partners and stakeholders to develop a new national urban parks policy, which will guide the creation of a future network of national urban parks. Parks Canada will also work on specific opportunities to create and designate new national urban parks in a small number of locations across the country. Expanding urban conservation across Canada will help provide high quality access to nature for the more than 80% of Canadians who live, work, learn, and play in cities.
As the characteristics and considerations of each potential new national urban park are unique, no specific timeframe has been established. The Meewasin team and Parks Canada will be working collaboratively with partners and stakeholders over the coming years to conduct consultations, assess interest, and ultimately determine whether or not the establishment of a new, national urban park in the Meewasin Valley is both feasible and desired by partners, stakeholders and the community.
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Learn more about the National Urban Park program