Bill 204 has passed. What does that mean for a national urban park in the Edmonton region? We don’t know.  

April 18, 2024
By: CPAWS Northern Alberta

On April 8th 2024, Private Member’s Bill 204, the Municipal Government (National Urban Parks) Amendment Act, 2023 was given its third reading and passed in the Alberta Legislature. CPAWS Nothern Alberta closely followed the Bill’s progress and was present during the Bill’s debate due to its potential impact on the National Urban Park initiative the City of Edmonton is exploring with the Federal Government, and any other future initiative in Alberta.  
The intent of the Bill is to prevent a municipality from entering into any agreement to develop a National Urban Park, except under still unspecified circumstances, which would be established later by Cabinet. For more information view our past statement. 
Much of the Government of Alberta’s reasoning for the Bill remains rooted in inaccuracies. The stated purpose of the Bill is to prevent federal overreach in the creation of a national urban park, allow Albertans to be consulted, and guarantee the Government of Alberta’s involvement in the process. 
These reasons can all be refuted.  

The Government of Alberta has always had a “seat at the table” for the national urban park discussion. A Partners Table was created by the City of Edmonton and Parks Canada in March 2022 where early stages of a proposal for a national urban park in the region could be discussed. The Government of Alberta was invited to be a partner but declined and chose to remain as “interested observer” instead. While they declined partner status there has been a Government of Alberta representative present in these discussions since the beginning.   
The introduction of a new national urban park in the province would not be possible without the province’s approval, and those formalized mechanisms are included in the National Park Act.  

A sticking point throughout the introduction and discussion of Bill 204 is that the Federal Government would gain an element of control over this beloved natural region. This misses the fact that National Urban Parks have different management models than National Parks such as Banff and Jasper National Park. There is no entry fee, the process is led by local groups, the land does not need to be owned by the federal government, and management can be shared between various entities. The creation of a National Urban Park would involve multiple rounds of public consultation, ensuring that Albertans would indeed have a say in whether one is created or not. 

“This new legislation is completely unnecessary additional red tape that puts at risk an initiative that could provide huge opportunity for the protection of our beloved river valley, including much needed additional funding for its management.” said Kecia Kerr, Executive Director of CPAWS Northern Alberta. 
Over 200 Albertans sent a letter in support of a National Urban Park within the Edmonton region and opposing Bill 204 over the course of just four days. Though the initiative is still in its very early stages, with partners coming together to discuss what a national urban park would look like in the region, we are positive that many Edmontonians and Albertans will see this as a huge opportunity and would like the process to move forward transparently so that they can provide input. We hope that Bill 204 will not bar Albertans from voicing their support or discourage municipalities or Parks Canada from pursuing the initiative. 
CPAWS Northern Alberta will continue to advocate for greater conservation of urban natural spaces and increased opportunities for Edmontonians and visitors to connect to nature. 


Kecia Kerr, Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Northern Alberta Chapter 

[email protected] 



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