Preserve Crown lands

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Dear Editor:

How can the government of this province call itself conservative? The very name conservative means someone who protects and conserves. There hasn’t been much conservation and protection going on in this province for a long time.

Provincial assets, such as Crown lands and natural areas, are often the only places left for native plants and animals. They are vital habitat areas for many vulnerable species. It is our responsibility to make sure our government protects them while there is still time, otherwise we will lose them forever. Species such as the sage grouse, the burrowing owl and the woodland caribou are on the brink of extinction or extirpation and there are others not far behind.

The preservation of wildlife habitat should be a priority for our legislators but they seem to have no concept of the seriousness of the situation. Instead, they are opening up large areas of Crown land to resource extraction and exploration and selling off crown land against the wishes of the people of this province. They tried to secretly sell one of our last remaining large tracts of prairie grassland to a potato farmer. The deal fell through when the public became aware of the fact that 65 square kilometres of priceless prairie habitat, home to many threatened species, was going to be sold to a potato farmer.

Now, less than one year later, our government is again going against our wishes and the advice of their experts and openly offering the same land for sale again with the proviso that it be used for agriculture and crops must be irrigated. One wonders why we need more farmland. We seem to have enough of it already in the most productive parts of the province, not in the arid south.

Intelligent and far-sighted people in this province are already becoming concerned about our future water supply. The glaciers in the mountains that feed our rivers and aquifers are receding at an alarming rate. Some Americans are suggesting changing the name of Glacier National Park because it will soon have no glaciers. One of these days we will have to decide on the most important uses for our water and irrigation will not be a high priority. It seems irresponsible and extremely poor planning to destroy an irreplaceable public resource in order to support a questionable agricultural venture.

There is no logical reason and no justification for this type of shortterm decision-making. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves if we really want such people managing our province.

Dorothy Broadbent,

RR3 Ponoka

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