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Hecla peat mining plan 'sickening': Green Party

Paul Turenne, QMI Agency
A Wilderness Committee map shows the proposed peat mining locations in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. (COURTESY wildernesscommittee.org)

A Wilderness Committee map shows the proposed peat mining locations in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. (COURTESY wildernesscommittee.org)

The leader of the Manitoba Green Party says it's "simply sickening" that the provincial government is considering allowing a company to harvest peat moss inside Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, despite a recently imposed ban on mining peat bogs.

The Greens and Manitoba Liberal Party held a joint news conference Tuesday to oppose a plan by Vancouver-based Sun Gro Horticulture to begin extracting peat from a bog in the Lake Winnipeg area park.

"Provincial parks are intended to preserve natural landscapes, not to serve as places of industrial development. The idea of a peat mine inside a provincial park is simply sickening," Green Party Leader James Beddome said in a prepared statement.

Last June the provincial government imposed a moratorium on peat mining licences as part of a plan to help clean up Lake Winnipeg.

However, a spokesman for Conservation Minister Dave Chomiak said Sun Gro has owned the rights to the peat bog since well before the ban came into place.

The Liberals and Greens maintain having such "loopholes" in the ban is no way to manage the peat resource or provincial parks.

Sun Gro has not yet received final government approval to begin harvesting peat in the park.