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Feds give green light to Rouge National Urban Park Act

Act will create world’s foremost urban protected area

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

News out of Ottawa is that Bill C-40, also known as the Rouge National Urban Park Act, passed its third reading in the House of Commons.

Enacting the bill means the Rouge will receive ultimate protection and create Canada’s first national urban park. The bill will proceed to the Senate for a review.

"The historic Rouge National Urban Park Act ensures the strongest ever protection for the Rouge,” said The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. “With the creation of Rouge National Urban Park, our Government will maintain the health of ecosystems, respect local farmers and create opportunities for Canadians to connect with this incredible landscape."

Rouge Park stretches around 40 square kilometres from Rouge Beach near Lake Ontario, to Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Under the new legislation, activities such as hunting, mineral extraction, polluting, harassing wildlife and poaching are prohibited. The park will also be protected by year-round enforcement officers who will fine anyone found breaking these rules or others including vandalism and threatening the park’s agricultural resources.

The park currently sits on prime (Class 1) farmland in the Greater Toronto Area and has become a hot-button issue for environmental groups, Parks Canada and the Ontario government.

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