Strathcona Park use permit challenged in Supreme Court

The outcome of this court case could set a precedent across the province

In BC Supreme Court this week, Honourable Justice Sigurdson is hearing Friends of Strathcona Park (FOSP) challenge the BC government in their granting of a Park Use Permit to a private business.

The outcome of this court case could set a precedent across our province and have significant implications for future protection of the province’s parks, says a statement from FOSP.

Friends of Strathcona Park is a group whose aim is to protect the park, keep it open to the public, and keep the government responsible to their mandate.

“If the Supreme Court finds in favour of Friends of Strathcona and the Park Use Permit is revoked, a clear message will be sent to business and government that B.C. parks are not for sale or barter,” says Bridget Horel, a spokesperson for the group.”

During court this week, the detailed history of the interface between the public and government around management of Strathcona Park was described. Scott Bernstein, lawyer for Friends of Strathcona Park, explained the steps in the permit proposal process, the realization by Parks that the Master Plan would have to be amended to accommodate the permit, and the refusal by Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee to endorse the Master Plan amendment.

“Strathcona Park is a Class A park,” says Bernstein, “the classification with the most protection, and the management challenge here is to balance recreation with conservation. We are challenging the granting of this permit on the grounds that it is not necessary, as required by the Park Act.”

The judicial review was expected close yesterday.