Progress Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks


Chapter 12. Shrinking the Ecological Footprint
Panel Recommendation Considerations Action
(12-1) We recommend that Parks Canada establish a highly qualified core design/planning group within Parks Canada's National Office or in regional Service Centres, to be responsible for developing ecologically sensitive design criteria to ensure that ecologically sustainable design and management in all development projects in national parks is realized on the ground. Design services are provided across the country, to defined user needs, by a combination of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) dedicated unit staff and private consultants. Parks Canada does not currently have ecologically sustainable design criteria in place. Training of staff in the application of such criteria would also be required to ensure ecologically sustainable design. Parks Canada will work with PWGSC to develop criteria for ecologically sustainable design.
(12-2) We recommend that Parks Canada procure all professional services on an open and competitive basis, emphasizing environmental performance criteria as much as other criteria such as design quality, cost, and timeliness of delivery. Parks Canada will need to define appropriate environmental performance criteria to be used to assess proposals and modify the existing request for proposal template to include them alongside other selection criteria. Parks Canada will examine with PWGSC the most practical way of addressing this recommendation within existing administrative requirements.

(12-3) We recommend that Parks Canada assess any capital redevelopment of facilities, accommodations and infrastructure belonging to both Parks Canada and to private or commercial operators. This should be based on the following principles:

  • maintenance of ecological integrity must be the first priority in all redevelopment decisions;
  • apply the principle of "no net negative environmental impact" to all redevelopment decisions;
  • conduct a needs analysis on all facilities, accommodations and infrastructure to determine whether they are required in the park and still acceptable, given current ecological understanding;
  • all facilities, accommodations and infrastructure should be models of environmental management, including water and energy conservation, use of biocides, transportation and waste management;
  • consider cumulative effects of facilities, accommodations and infrastructure at local and regional scales;
  • most parks should not experience any increase in the present facility footprint;
  • ensure that any redevelopment is consistent with the Park Management Plan and, if applicable, the community plan;
  • facilities, accommodations and infrastructure developments should be responsible for providing staff accommodation so as to avoid undue burdens on park communities. This principle especially applies to accommodations for seasonal staff.
The recommended principles are consistent with those recently applied in Banff townsite, the Banff National Park Management Plan and other park community plans. These principles are being progressively put in place. UNDERWAY. The maintenance of ecological integrity will be the primary consideration in Parks Canada's assessment of any capital redevelopment of facilities, accommodations and infrastructure belonging to both Parks Canada and to private or commercial operators. Accordingly, Parks Canada will use the following principles to assess any capital redevelopments.

Capital redevelopments should:

  • be consistent with Park Management Plans, Community Plans and park establishment agreements;
  • be based on a needs analysis for that facility, accommodation and/or supporting infrastructure and be acceptable in the context of current ecological understanding;
  • respect clearly established limits on development and contain the facility footprint within these limits;
  • contribute to visitor appreciation and understanding of national parks;
  • protect cultural heritage;
  • demonstrate leadership in environmental management;
  • provide adequate staff accommodation;
  • comply with environmental assessment obligations, including consideration of cumulative effects and environmental management systems (EMS) to achieve no net negative environmental impact.


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