The Governments of Canada and PEI, and the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils announce launch of public engagement phase for the creation of a national park reserve in the Pituamkek (Hog Island Sandhills) area of PEI.
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI, June 4, 2021 /CNW/ – Nature and the wonders of our diverse landscapes inspire Canadians and instill pride in Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. The sand dunes of Pituamkek (pronounced Bee-doo-um-gek) form one of the most ecologically significant coastal dune ecosystems in Eastern Canada and these islands are of important cultural and historic significance to the Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Chief Darlene Bernard and Chief Junior Gould of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils and Steven Myers, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action for Prince Edward Island, launched public consultations as part of the feasibility assessment process to establish a national park reserve in the Pituamkek area (Hog Island Sandhills) of Malpeque Bay, PEI.
Since the August 2019 tripartite announcement, the province of Prince Edward Island, Epikwitk Mi’kmaq and Parks Canada have been assessing the feasibility of the proposed national park reserve in Pituamkek. Parks Canada and L’nuey, on behalf of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, have worked diligently to develop consultation materials and a public consultation plan that complies with required public safety measures regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The feasibility of establishing a national park reserve is assessed, in part, through extensive local engagement. This is the public’s opportunity to share their perspectives and ideas, as well as ask questions to learn more about the proposed Pituamkek National Park Reserve. Parks Canada and L’nuey invite partners, stakeholders and the public to provide their input on key aspects such as area histories, current uses and future visions for consideration in establishing this national park reserve through this nation-wide process.
To have your voice heard, please visit the Pituamkek project website at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/pituamkek and visit the Pituamkek Public Survey to participate in the consultation process. Comments are welcomed until July 23, 2021.
“Parks Canada administers one of the finest and most extensive systems of cultural and natural heritage places in the world. Adding Pituamkek to the family of national parks would not only protect an environmentally important area home to a number of species at risk but would also protect a culturally important area to Mi’kmaq. I encourage Canadians to participate in the consultation phase as the Government of Canada works with the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils and the Province of Prince Edward Island to establish a new national park reserve in Prince Edward Island.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“At a stone’s throw from here, Pituamkek is a natural and cultural treasure that we should protect. I invite all Canadians to participate to this public consultation to help Parks Canada, Epekwitk Assembly of Councils and the Province of Prince Edward Island to shape the future of the proposed national park reserve.”
Robert Morrissey (Egmont)
Member of Parliament
“Our ancestors have been stewards of the land since time immemorial. We believe in the protection and preservation of Pituamkek, both environmentally and culturally. This will lead to a positive legacy for the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq, and all Islanders and Canadians of future generations.”
Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation
Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Co-Chair
“The Mi’kmaq name Pituamkek honours our history and connection to the land through recognition of our beautiful language. Pituamkek represents an opportunity for partnership between the PEI Mi’kmaq and the Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island. We have a chance to preserve history, the environment, and a vital part of our Mi’kmaq cultural heritage.”
Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation
Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Co-Chair
“Pituamkek is a rare, beautiful and fragile part of the Island. It has been a provincial land protection priority for many decades. Prince Edward Island, L’nuey and Parks Canada want to hear the ideas, suggestions and questions from anyone that has a connection to the area on future protections for the important ecological, cultural, and spiritual site.”
Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Action, PEI
- In August 2019, the Government of Canada, the Government of Prince Edward Island, and the Mi’kmaq Governments of Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations announced the launch of a feasibility assessment on the establishment of a national park reserve in Pituamkek (Hog Island Sandhills).
- The area constitutes a vital living link between Mi’kmaq culture, its history and the environment. For this reason, the Mi’kmaq People of Prince Edward Island have a strong and enduring connection with the Pituamkek area and have officially designated the area as Mi’kmaq Heritage Landscape.
- The information gathered during the public engagement phase of the feasibility assessment will assist the parties in finalizing a national park reserve concept. Once the feasibility assessment is complete and there is agreement on a formal park concept, the next step is negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), before moving to negotiations of a formal establishment agreement.
- Parks Canada and L’nuey are committed to resuming in-person engagement with stakeholders and the public, and formal consultation with the Abegweit and Lennox Island communities, once it is safe to do so. Parks Canada and L’nuey are following the advice of public health experts and implementing measures to support Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risks to Canadians. While there may be opportunities for social distancing compliant in-person meetings through this engagement process, the majority of public input will be gathered online.
Backgrounder: Pituamkek National Park Reserve
- Pituamkek National Park Reserve Survey
- Proposed national park reserve in Pituamkek
- Parks Canada Prince Edward Island
- Government of Prince Edward Island
SOURCE Parks Canada