Federal Court


Planning

Planning authority
Superintendent of national park could consider concept proposal that did not comply with current management plan

Superintendent of Jasper National Park approved for further consideration in development review process concept proposal of MTL to develop 10 to 15 tent cabins under new license of occupation at lake subject to park management plan amendment. Applicants asserted tent cabin element of concept proposal was not permissible under management plan, which prohibits release of new land for overnight commercial accommodation outside community of Jasper. Applicants sought judicial review. Application dismissed. Applicants wished to ensure that no amendments to management plan were made that would permit MTL’s proposal to proceed, but there was no basis to believe that such amendment would not be lawfully enacted. There was no reason why Parks Canada could not invite MTL to proceed with phase two of concept review on contingency basis set out in Superintendent’s decision. For purpose of simply deciding that further consideration should be given to proposal, decision was reasonable. Applicants were seeking to make management plan legally binding documents in strict and specific sense that was at odds with purpose as general guideline that provided long-term strategic direction. There was nothing in management plan, legislation or any jurisprudence to support proposition that Superintendent could not consider concept proposal that did not comply with current management plan. Decision made it clear that Superintendent did not approve tent cabin element of concept proposal and recognized that amendment to management plan would be required. Decision was no more than consent to proceed to phase two of review process, subject to overriding consideration of amendment to management plan. Amendments to Management Plan had their own process and, as yet, there was no reason to think that any proposed amendments would not be legitimate and made in accordance with that process. There was simply no evidence o support accusations that Superintendent was seeking amendments to management plan to accommodate MTL.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society v. Maligne Tours Ltd. (Feb. 8, 2016, F.C., James Russell J., T-1808-14) 263 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1058.

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