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Consultation of the public

Québec, August 18, 2006 – Mr. Claude Béchard, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, has entrusted the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) with the mandate of holding a consultation of the public on the Saint-Elzéar karst biodiversity reserve and Bonaventure river estuary aquatic reserve projects. They are situated in the Appalachians Natural Province , whose territories have been set aside and have been assigned a temporary protection status as biodiversity and aquatic reserves. This mandate begins today August 18 and will end on December 20, 2006 . The commission in charge of examining the project and holding the consultation of the public will be chaired by Mr. Alain Cloutier.

Documentation made available

Beginning today August 18 2006, the BAPE is making available the documentation pertaining to these protected areas, including notably the draft conservation plans of the territories in question as well as the protection and management frameworks for the proposed Saint-Elzéar karst biodiversity reserve and the Bonaventure river estuary aquatic reserve.

This documentation will be put at the public’s disposal at the BAPE office in Québec City, located at 575, rue Saint-Amable, bureau 2.10 and in Montréal, at the central library of Université du Québec à Montréal, Pavillon Hubert-Aquin, 1255, rue Saint-Denis, local A.M. 100, as well as at the following regional consultation centres:

  • Bibliothèque Françoise-Bujold, 95A, rue Port-Royal, Bonaventure ;
  • Micmacs of Gesgapegiag Band Council, 100, boulevard Perron, Maria ;
  • Municipality of Saint-Elzéar, 148, chemin Principal, Saint-Elzéar.


The documentation can also be consulted at any time on the BAPE’s website at the following address: www.bape.gouv.qc.ca under the heading “Mandats en cours” .

Work of the BAPE

The BAPE commission will hold a public hearing with the objective of closely associating the public and community partners in this initiative. The first part of this public hearing will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 beginning at 7:00 p.m. The sessions will continue on the following days depending on the needs of the participants and the commission. This first part of the public hearing will be held at Salle D of Place Bonaventure en Gaspésie, located at 105, avenue de Grand-Pré in Bonaventure. The second part of the meeting is planned for the month of October 2006.

Once the consultation of the public has ended and the commission’s report has been drafted, the BAPE will submit its report to the Minister, who will make his recommendation to the government concerning the possibility of conferring on the set aside territories a permanent protection status and the applicable conditions, if any. Ultimately, it will be up to the Cabinet to rule on the permanent nature of the proposed biodiversity and aquatic reserves.

To receive information

To be informed of the BAPE’s activities in the specific matter of the Saint-Elzéar karst biodiversity reserve and the Bonaventure river estuary aquatic reserve , it is possible to register by e-mail at the following address: bonaventure-st-elzear@bape.gouv.qc.ca.

However, if you would like to receive information pertaining to each of the protected area projects for which the BAPE will hold a consultation of the public, you can register at the following address: aires-protegees@bape.gouv.qc.ca .

In both cases, you can also register by calling 418  643-7447 or, toll-free, 1 800 463-4732.

Individuals wishing to obtain more information can get in touch with Julie Olivier, communications advisor, by calling the aforementioned telephone numbers or by e-mail at the following address: bonaventure-st-elzear@bape.gouv.qc.ca.

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SOURCE: Julie Olivier
Communications advisor
Telephone: 418 643-7447, extension 539
Toll-free: 1 800 463-4732

 

TECHNICAL SHEET

Consultation of the public on the Saint-Elzéar karst biodiversity reserve and
the Bonaventure river estuary aquatic reserve projects

Description of the projects

The aim of the projects submitted by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs is to create two protected areas in the administrative region of Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, namely the Saint-Elzéar karst biodiversity reserve and the Bonaventure river estuary aquatic reserve. Both are situated in the Appalachians Natural Province .

According to the documentation submitted by this ministry, the proposed Saint-Elzéar karst biodiversity reserve, located some fifteen kilometres north of this municipality, has a surface area of 44.5 km2. In addition to the Saint-Elzéar cave, Québec’s oldest known cave to date, the proposed reserve comprises all of the known or potential karstic (limestone corrosion) phenomena within the Duval River drainage basin. The project also seeks to protect the biodiversity associated with these phenomena.

For its part, the proposed Bonaventure river estuary aquatic reserve is located on the territory of the Town of Bonaventure and covers 2.4 km2. It spans the estuary at the mouth of the river and includes islands that are home to several plant species that are threatened, vulnerable or likely to be so designated. This coastal wetland area is also an important migratory staging area for numerous species of birds and is frequented by various species of fish, including Atlantic salmon.

These two protected areas currently have a temporary protection status in their capacity as proposed biodiversity and aquatic reserves. Under the Natural Heritage Conservation Act, the main activities prohibited on these territories are forest management, mining and the development of hydraulic resources. Non-industrial activities such as fishing, hiking and water sports activities would be permitted provided that they do not have a significant impact on the natural environment.

The operational management of these territories would be under the responsibility of the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regional office in charge of analysis and expertise of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs. Local and regional stakeholders would be invited to take part in the management according to the terms and conditions established by the ministry’s regional office.

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SOURCE: Julie Olivier
Communications advisor
Telephone: 418 643-7447, extension 539
Toll-free: 1 800 463-4732

 

 
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