BY RON THIESSEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CPAWS MANITOBA
This letter was written in response to ‘Climate change absent on campaign trail‘ published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sept 14, 2022. The letter was published by the Free Press on September 26, 2022.
As preserving the carbon stored in ecosystems can help slow the accelerator pedal on climate change, a sterling opportunity for mayoral candidates lies with Winnipeg’s beloved Assiniboine Forest.
Our cherished forest is one of the largest urban natural spaces in North America, yet it is at risk from development. A simple two-third vote of city council is all it would take to pave over this paradise.
We’ve seen what happens to city parks that lack permanent protection. Just 16 kilometres from Ottawa’s Parliament Building, the once pristine Gatineau Park has been carved up by housing developments, shopping centres and the creation of new roads.
The city of Winnipeg and the government of Canada have an agreement to explore establishing an Urban National Park. I can think of no better candidate to safeguard than this treasured sanctuary.
Winnipeg trails the nation in public greenspace: just six per cent of our city, compared to a national average of nine per cent. We could greatly up our game if the Urban National Park connected Assiniboine Forest to the FortWhyte Alive grounds by including the undeveloped lands between them.
As the executive director of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, I encourage all civic-election candidates to seize this chance to forge a huge win for future generations of people and wildlife.
Read more about the Assiniboine Forest campaign and sign a letter showing your support.