Outside the Gold Rush Inn, two sandwich boards advertise consultations on the Peel watershed land use plan.
One sign is hand drawn on bright construction paper and adorned with “Protect the Peel” stickers. The other boasts the government’s now-ubiquitous “We Want to Hear from You” branding.
All this week, the government is conducting a public consultation on the Peel land use plan.
In the General Store meeting space at the west end of the building, government officials are on hand to take questions from the public. There’s a welcome station, an area for submitting comments, and information booths on the values of the Peel watershed and the government’s proposed modifications to the final recommended plan.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has set up their own displays down the hall.
“We feel that the information provided by the government isn’t clear and doesn’t actually reflect what would be happening in the watershed,” said Jody Overduin, outreach co-ordinator with CPAWS.
The Peel land use commission released their recommended plan in the summer of 2011.
The government said it wants a plan that is more “balanced,” meaning more open to development.
For this round of consultations, the government has proposed four new maps it says will both protect the area while allowing for development.
The government’s consultation has been going very well so far, said Manon Moreau with Energy, Mines and Resources.
“We’ve had some really good feedback and some good conversations, a lot of questions being raised. It’s been great having people come out for it.”
Consultations by the government and CPAWS run 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. all week at the Gold Rush.
Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m., CPAWS will host a town hall forum for people to hear each other’s feedback and comments.