Almost 70 per cent of British Columbians say conservation and environment issues are very important to them as voters, according to a recent survey the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s B.C. chapter (CPAWS-BC).
“British Columbians want the province to focus on safeguarding nature, and to prioritize wildlife and habitat protection,” says Bruce Passmore, executive director.
Key findings of the survey found the vast majority of respondents want the province to protect 25 per cent of B.C.’s lands and ocean by 2025. Currently, less than 14 per cent of the province is protected.
“The question now isn’t whether or not we need to take action, it’s what will the next government actually do to drive conservation forward in B.C.,” says Passmore.
The survey also found 86 per cent of respondents want the province to increase investment in B.C. Parks. While the 2019/20 the operating budget for BC Parks is $41 million, the province recently said they will increase funding next year by $5 million.
Yet, the Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia is asking for a budget increase by $60 million to help with rising visitation, more staff hires and upkeep park infrastructure.
Between 2014 and 2019, visitation to BC Parks increased by 23 per cent.
CPAWS-BC said it’s calling on all parties to prioritize wildlife conservation, habitat protection and work on building a cohesive plan for a healthy coast.
“B.C. has a reputation for being bold, and we hope to see politicians stepping up to the plate with bold commitments during the election period and beyond,” says Passmore.
Recently, students in Revelstoke were able to ask a question via video to the provincial leaders. The question asked each of the candidates what was their climate action plan. The leaders responded via video on Youtube.
The provincial election is Oct. 24.
CPAWS-BC survey was conducted online between Oct. 3 and 8. Responses were collected from 1,041 British Columbians, with a 95 per cent confidence level and a margin of error of three per cent.
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