Parks Canada Announces Plans for New National Urban Park in St. John’s

Parks Canada recognizes the importance of access to nature for community well-being, recognizing its benefits for mental health, biodiversity, and climate resilience. In collaboration with the City of St. John’s, Parks Canada is exploring the establishment of a new national urban park in the city. This park aims to provide residents and visitors with increased access to nature, offering opportunities to highlight and celebrate Indigenous voices and stories. The proposed park is expected to stimulate local employment, boost the economy, and enhance the region’s tourism industry. The journey toward establishing this national urban park will involve extensive collaboration with various partners and stakeholders over the next several years. The evaluation of potential sites will consider connections to existing heritage sites managed by Parks Canada, such as Signal Hill National Historic Site and Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. National urban parks serve as vital habitats for wildlife, including endangered species, and act as essential wildlife corridors. They embody nature-based solutions for climate challenges, mitigating urban heat and managing stormwater during extreme weather events. These parks contribute to Canada’s climate goals by sequestering carbon and supporting the government’s pledge to conserve 30% of Canada’s lands and waters by 2030. As this collaborative effort progresses, Parks Canada and the City of St. John’s will work closely with local and regional organizations and landholders. This partnership aims to ensure that the potential park not only protects nature but also connects people with the natural environment and promotes reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, emphasized the importance of this initiative, stating, “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.” Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, Newfoundland and Labrador, expressed excitement about the potential of a national urban park, stating, “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.” The Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, highlighted the environmental significance of the project, stating, “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.” Mayor Danny Breen of St. John’s expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating, “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.”

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