Lead a New Coordinated Initiative to Manage Urban Waterways
WHEREAS many urban waterways are under environmental threat from a variety of influences, pollution, motor boat traffic, float planes, snowmobiles, shipping, and waterfront development (e.g. Vancouver's English Bay and the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers in the National Capital Region);
WHEREAS paddling and rowing are becoming more popular, healthy recreational activities that allow the public to interact with their natural urban environment and wildlife (e.g. whales and birds);
WHEREAS wildlife, paddlers, rowers, and swimmers are put at risk by motor boats and pollution;
WHEREAS urban indigenous peoples have a traditional right to safely navigate their ancestral waterways;
WHEREAS, existing legislation and confusing overlapping jurisdictional responsibilities between cities, provinces, and the Federal government makes it difficult for any community to manage their waterways’ safety and environmental concerns;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada support a new Federal initiative to coordinate among all levels of government a strategy to assess and design proper protective measures to control motor boat traffic on major urban waterways, develop and protect safer forms public water access, and protect indigenous access to their ancestral waterways.
Urban waterfront areas in Canada are not as well controlled and protected as they could be, simply because there are at least three layers of government that are responsible for setting speed limits, protecting the environment, and policing. Historically, waterfronts have evolved from places of hunting and fishing, to industrial uses, and now are becoming recreational areas where paddlers and rowers are threatened by speeding motor boats. In many areas, the public are frustrated that no level of government seems to be able to act to coordinate a comprehensive strategy. Local governments are challenged to work to improve their waterfronts, so it is important that the Federal Government help address these concerns that seem to exist is most major waterfront communities. Indigenous peoples are frustrated that local governments don't seem to acknowledge their right to access their ancestral waterways. Environmentalists are frustrated that they cannot protect shorelines (e.g. protecting whales in English Bay from speeding boats to issues of shoreline erosion and noise pollution in places as the Ottawa River). It is time to fix these poorly managed waterways.
There are some examples in Canada where various levels of government have worked together concerning urban waterfront areas. One such example is Waterfront Toronto (http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/ ), an agency that coordinates three levels of government to provide a shared vision for that city's waterfront and to overcome similar concerns.