Every day LIN staff monitor hundreds of newspapers and broadcasters, dozens of listservs, web sites, government news sources, press releases and information supplied by our site users to bring you the latest and hottest in leisure, recreation, parks and healthy living. If you have relevant news or events you would like us to publicize, tell us about it.
Often referred to as natural capital, nature’s infrastructure – forests, river basins, wetlands, coral reefs and so on – provides fundamental inputs to the production of all kinds of goods and services. A 2012 study by The Nature Conservancy and the Corporate EcoForum estimated that the environment provides some $72tn a year of “free” support to the global economy. But while we reap nature's benefits, we are undermining its inputs, with two-thirds of the planet’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems now significantly degraded due to human activity.
An accounting system that improves economic information by incorporating natural capital can help us continue to benefit from our planet’s natural capital without driving it into the red. This would not only reduce risk, but also increase opportunity.
Inger Andersen, The Guardian
Neighbours who back onto city-owned green space in south Guelph are dismayed to discover that after building and maintaining a neighbourhood skating rink for the past five winters, they now have to shut it down. The rink runs between residential properties and is well maintained by local parents who clear and flood it almost every night using their own equipment and water. Neighbours received a letter from the city stating that "unauthorized encroachments" have occurred on this city-owned land and must be discontinued.
Brent Pedersen, who lives in the area, said this has been a fantastic winter for the rink and says, "So many kids in the area use it and benefit from it," Pedersen said. "This is good, healthy exercise for them. The public arenas are taken up by hockey and figure skating. There's about one hour a day for public skating and we'd have to drive to it."
Sit-to-stand desks are all the rage now, thanks to their health benefits and improved worker productivity. Those who change positions throughout the workday are at lower risk of developing lower-back pain, cardiovascular disease and even cancer than their sedentary peers. Results of a new study reverses the conventional sit-stand wisdom of a three-to-one sit-to-stand ratio. Instead, a team conducted by Canada's most eminent kinesiologist, Jack P. Callaghan found that you should stand for three and sit for one. So, if you sit for five minutes, try standing for 15 minutes. For an eight-hour workday this would break down to two hours of sitting and six hours of standing.
CNW News Release
The recently published findings of a global research project that examines the impact of urban policies on human health and wellbeing, notes that scientists need to capitalise on a growing body of evidence showing a link between biodiversity and human wellbeing. It said rapid progress could be made if there was better communication and collaboration between researchers and public health and land-use officials.
Co-author Paul Sandifer observed that, "One of the main findings of the review for me and for my colleagues was the huge amount of information indicating mostly positive health responses of some kind - mainly psychological," referring to "biodiversity providing advantages for human health."
Mark Kinver, BBC News
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, celebrated, on January 26th, the Rouge National Urban Park Act (Bill C-40), which will provide the Rouge with the highest level of protection in its history and create Canada's first national urban park. The Bill passed third reading in the House of Commons and will now move to the Senate for review.
The Rouge National Urban Park Act is tailor-made to protect the Rouge's natural ecosystems and cultural landscapes, maintain native wildlife and ensure the health of those ecosystems. The Bill gives Parks Canada the legislative framework it needs to ensure the strongest ever protections for the park's ecosystems, wildlife, flora, fossils, artifacts, and other natural and cultural resources, and promotes the park's vibrant farming community.
Under this legislation, hunting, mineral extraction, dumping, polluting, harassing wildlife, poaching, and the removal of artefacts and fossils are prohibited. Stiff fines and year-round dedicated law enforcement officers will help address long-standing dumping, pollution, poaching and vandalism issues that have previously threatened the park's ecosystems, water, wildlife, artifacts and agricultural resources.
Rouge National Urban Park is home to an unparalleled combination of natural and cultural features, including more than 10,000 years of rich human history, 1,700 species of plants and animals, and a vibrant farming community. The park's close proximity to our country's largest metropolis brings unprecedented access for Canadians to learn about the park and all of Canada's protected heritage areas. With its very own legislation and year-round enforcement, no other urban park in the world will have stronger protections than what is proposed for Rouge National Urban Park – and these lands will be protected forever.
CNW News Release
The City of Hamilton is studying the feasibility of installing surveillance cameras as part of a long-running pilot project aimed at cracking down on garbage-tossing on public and private property. Staff reported that complaints about illegal dumping in city parks had "increased dramatically" in 2013 to 7,500.
Andrew Dreschel, Hamilton Spectator
A new City of Barrie recreation pass will simplify the city's membership structure, and replace more than 230 different memberships, beginning in February, and provide access to all child, youth, adult and senior drop-in activities. It includes all fitness drop-in programs, open and lane swims, aqua-fit, open gym sessions like drop-in basketball and volleyball, public skating and shinny hockey, kids' drop-in programs like dance, along with pre- and after-school programs.
“No longer will our members need to determine which activities they might wish to participate in, and then figure out which membership will meet their needs,” noted Barb Roth, the city's recreation director.
Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner
Port Hope Council recently adopted changes to the policy introduced in 2009 to help offset the costs of recreation activities for low-income families. The previous policy allowed some free subsidies for some programs such as summer camp, aquatic lessons, and some general programs.
The new policy introduces a subsidy in the total of $200 per year per person, requiring each participant to pay at least 25 per cent of the registration cost. Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program recipients may be eligible for additional funding.
The once-a-decade World Parks Congress held in November in Sydney, Australia hosted 6,000 participants from more than 170 countries, and highlighted differences in national parks the world over. Examples include varied purposes such as to attract tourism, means of protecting them, conservation and preservation efforts, etc.
Vince Devlin, Missoulian
Canadian Tire is donating more than $100,000 worth of athletic equipment to P.E.I. schools, with each of the Island’s 55 schools receiving equipment worth between $2,000 and $2,500.
P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie said the equipment will help address a growing health problem, and is a first step in the province’s Active at School initiative.