Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to talk about this issue again under Standing Order 37(3) regarding Sunshine Development in Banff National Park.
Calling a FEARO panel to assess development of the Goat's Eye ski run in the government approved leaseholding area of
Sunshine Village Corporation costing a loss of hope for jobless Albertans is a waste of taxpayers' dollars. Every step necessary for discovering the environmental impact of Goat's Eye ski run has already been studied and restudied since 1978. This project received environmental assessment review panel approval.
The formal notice of the Goat's Eye screening decision sent to Sunshine stated:
Environmental impacts predicted to result from the proposed development of Goat's Eye for skiing at Sunshine are either insignificant or mitigable with known technology as defined in section 12(c) for environmental assessment and review process guideline order 1984.
The minister should be aware that section 12(c) means the proposal may proceed or proceed with mitigation with no referral for panel review and under section 12(c) there is no need for a FEARO panel.
The hon. minister stated that Goat's Eye was virgin territory. How can that be when this is one of the five areas in our national parks the government has allowed access for public skiing recreation?
The hon. minister stated that Goat's Eye deserves an environmental assessment. May I suggest that she review the history of the project. She will find that an environmental impact assessment was completed by Gail Harrison, Canadian Parks Service, western region. Ms. Harrison found no evidence why this development should not be allowed to proceed. A regional screening committee concluded this development has minimal impact or mitigable impact consistent with EARP requirements in section 12(c).
A three day conference including environmental non-government organizations studied the long range plan and initial agreement on the plan including the parking lot and the study was presented to the Minister of the Environment.
In terms of the parking lot Bruce F. Leeson, chief, Environmental Assessment Sciences Division, Canadian Park Services, western region stated the parking lot could be developed without extraordinary environmental and engineering difficulties. We have successful experience with this kind of project.
In July 1992 Canadian Park Services stated the project was mitigable under EARP guidelines order. A preliminary screening indicated the long range plan was doable within environmental constraints. In August 1992 the Minister of the Environment approved the project.
Sunshine held an open house for the public to scrutinize the development. A majority of those present agreed with the proposal. The Federal Court in Vancouver upheld Sunshine's legal right to proceed with this development against special interest groups' intervention.
Did special interest groups pressure government to change the legal procedure and rules Sunshine followed with success? Will special interests again overrule the legal process and have the government order a FEARO panel for every project special interests do not agree with?
When will this government follow the wishes of the majority of Canadians?
May I remind the minister that two out of three notices received when the government called for the redundant public notice favoured completion of Goat's Eye. May I again remind the minister that a redundant FEARO review wastes taxpayers' dollars and prevents unemployed Albertans from having jobs on construction which could get going immediately. Then there would be ongoing operations that would create long term jobs which fits right down the alley of the red book.
Why would this minister continue to put a stop to this particular item? Calling a FEARO panel on this issue is a contradiction of 12(c) of the guidelines the minister states the government wants to uphold.