Saturday, April 29, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Follow the money when it comes to OHVs in the Castle Parks

James Tweedie - In an opinion piece in the Edmonton Journal earlier this month, Gary Clark, as the mouthpiece for the Crowsnest Pass QuadSquad and lobbyist for the Alberta Off Highway Vehicles Association, made a number of outrageous statements in response to the many scientists who voiced their support for the decision by the Minister of Environment and Parks to phase-out Off Highway Vehicles from the recently designated Castle Parks.

I would like to focus on simply one of these. Mr. Clark gives the impression that his organization was responsible for the “Millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours spent building trails and bridges in Castle”.

If I learned nothing else from Mr Klein’s tenure as Premier of Alberta, it was his dictum: “Follow the money”.

In 2008, when the Federal Government announced its “Community Development Trust Fund”, a Freedom of Information request on the disbursements of that fund revealed that the beneficiary for the administration of those funds, coordinated through the Sport and Recreation Div, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation at the time, was the Crowsnest Pass QuadSquad. We are talking big money here:

Jan 2009 = $200,000; April 2009 = $60,000; June 2009 = $210,000; Nov 2009 = $30,000. The application for subsequent years was for $300,000 in 2010 and $300,000 in 2011/12, which of course meshed very nicely with the Flood Rehabilitation Program (a $5 M fund) that came into effect after the 2012 flood events....and money continued to flow to the “Crowsnest Stewardship Society” (a more benign-sounding organization, but the same motorized user-group)

They have effectively controlled these purse strings for almost a decade.

This was and is taxpayers’ money and the government has every right “ to turn these same trails over to non-motorized use.” The Minister has to be clear that the Government of Alberta is not beholden to this noisy and aggressive lobby group...whose latest exploit has been to stage and video a fabricated life-threatening "accident" and attribute it to a local landowner.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps a full audit of exactly where this money went is in order? After all, it is our money.


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