Rouge Park: The Future of Canada's Premier Urban Wilderness Park

In 2012, the Canadian federal government declared support for Rouge Park as Canada’s first urban national park. The announcement followed after many years of lobbying from an alliance of provincial and municipal politicians, local residents, and environmental groups. The public and media reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The panel provides a discussion on the future of Rouge Park, including questions relating to funding and maintenance, public access, invasive species, community relationships within and outside the park, park programs, and its location in a sea of urban development.

Moderator: L. Anders Sandberg, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Gary Sault, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation

Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada, David Suzuki Foundation

Jim Robb, Founder and General Manager, Friends of the Rouge Watershed

“Jim has a successful record of conservation work within the Rouge Watershed. Between 1986 and 1990, Jim was Vice Chair and then Chair of “Save the Rouge Valley System”. In this volunteer role, Jim helped develop the Rouge Park vision and the public and government support which led to the 1990 creation of the Rouge Park. Between 1990 and 1996, Jim was a Vice Chair with the Ontario Environmental Assessment Board and a Niagara Escarpment Hearings Officer. In 1996, Jim left the EA Board and began building FRW into a group which could involve thousands of volunteers in the implementation of the Rouge Park vision. Between 1997 and 2003, Jim helped FRW to raise over $2.5 million to involve 15,000 volunteers in the planting of 200,000 trees, shrubs and wildflowers on 120 hectares (1.2 square kilometre) of priority Rouge Park sites. This work is helping the Rouge Park to expand and reconnect Environmental Sensitive Areas. Jim continues to volunteer many hours to strategic watershed planning initiatives and efforts to protect a large Rouge Duffins Greenbelt Link between Lake Ontario and the Oak Ridges Moraine.” (from website)

Cate Sandilands, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Culture, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Catriona (Cate) Sandilands is Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, where she teaches at the intersections of environmental literatures, politics, and theory, with a particular interest in queer and feminist perspectives on multispecies inhabitions. She is currently completing a manuscript on the intellectual legacy of Canadian author Jane Rule, and beginning another on the queer politics of human/plant relations.

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