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polar Bear Provincial Park – Parks in Peril

Within Polar Bear Provincial Park, there are several abandoned military radar sites. These radar sites are remnants of the Cold War era, and were designed to provide early warning detection of possible military invasion from the Soviet Union.

Once the threat of invasion dissipated, these sites were abandoned by the military, leaving behind a legacy of hazardous waste.

The Ontario Government has made a financial commitment to clean up the seven (7) radar sites within Polar Bear Provincial Park. They are still waiting for a financial commitment from the federal government.

The Ontario government is currently seeking public comment on the extent of the cleanup. Hazardous waste, primarily PCBs, will be shipped to decommissioning facilities in Quebec, but the Ontario government is seriously considering burying low level hazardous waste and dry waste within Polar Bear Provincial Park to reduce clean up costs.

Polar Bear Provincial Park is located on the southern coast of Hudson Bay, and is designated as a wilderness class park. Wilderness class parks are large intact wilderness areas where natural systems are allowed to fluctuate with natural forces with little or no human intervention.

The park was established in 1970 to protect sub-arctic and low arctic landscapes. The park is the representative wilderness class park for the Hudson Bay Coast and Northern Taiga ecoregions. The park is one of the least-altered tracts of land remaining in Ontario, and provides opportunities for low-intensity wilderness recreation, opportunities for scientific research, and traditional land and resource use by First Nation people.

Please tell Dalton McGuinty that you support all efforts to decommission contaminated military sites across northern Ontario, but Polar Bear Provincial Park is not a dumping ground for waste of any kind. Please tell the Premier that you support:

  • a thorough clean up plan for Polar Bear Provincial Park;
  • the dismantling of structures in such a way that they can be cleaned, donated and reused by local communities;
  • the sale or donation of valuable, recyclable materials such as steel;
  • no landfills, hazardous or otherwise, in Polar Bear Provincial Park, and;
  • the costs associated with restoring Polar Bear Provincial Park to a complete pristine wilderness reserve.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, an additional 20 million dollars would be added to the overall clean up cost to remove low level hazardous and dry waste from Polar Bear Provincial Park, and avoid a landfill.

You can send your comments directly to Dalton McGuinty here: http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/feedback/default.asp

Please note: The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has not issued a public notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry. For more information about this project, please contact:

G. Bruce Mighton
Ministry of Natural Resources
Far North Project Coordinator
2, 3rd Ave., P.O. Box 730
Cochrane, Ontario P0L 1C0
Tel. 705.272.7142 Fax: 705.272.7183

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