The City of Colwood has been added to the shortlist for a new federally-funded park through the National Urban Park Program — a program focused on bringing more green spaces to cities.
Parks Canada has budgeted just over $130 million towards the program with Colwood landing on the shortlist of six possible cities to be home to a new urban national park.
Along with Colwood, the list is comprised of Winnipeg, Halifax, Windsor, Edmonton and Montreal.
Parks Canada is pushing the expansion of urban green spaces after noting the key role that parks played in the wellbeing of Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With 72 per cent of Canadians living in urban centres, Parks Canada says this new program will help expand access to the benefits of nature in these areas.
While nothing has been finalized with the City of Colwood, Parks Canada says it has identified the the region as a potential urban park site.
“The City of Colwood is pleased to be exploring opportunities with Parks Canada for a potential national urban park in our seaside community,” said Rob Martin, Mayor of Colwood.
“We look forward to engaging respectfully with First Nations partners to understand their interests and priorities related to urban parks. As a City known for its connections to nature, with beautiful beaches, abundant forests and beautiful parks and trails, Colwood is an ideal location for an urban park.”
The network of parks will include areas managed under a range of flexible governance models, including federally administered places, third-party administered places, and partnership models.
The National Urban Parks Program will also contribute to Canada’s commitment to protect biodiversity and conserve 25 percent of land and inland waters and 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.
Parks Canada says it will also work closely with Indigenous partners to ensure national urban parks provide space for Indigenous stewardship, promote Indigenous voices and stories, and offer opportunities for connections to lands and waters based on Indigenous knowledge and values.
The $130 million in funding for the National Urban Park Program will come from an allotment of $2.3 billion in Canada’s Nature Legacy, which was announced for federal budget 2021.