LETTER: The pro-park query

LETTER: The pro-park query

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The South Okanagan-Similkameen grasslands are the site of a proposed national park. (Photo Richard McGuire)

An interesting article from the pro- park side got my attention.

One statement was made that I would question as being totally just a bit lacking in clarity and perspective. Calling 861/non support to 1422/supporting a paltry showing against the pro-side is a bit of a misleading statement.

It is a good showing for either side if all votes were from the Oliver area. But the petition does not tighten the geographic area any closer than province-wide.

One must account for communities involved in breaking down the numbers.  First we will tackle Oliver in the 2016 census: that number was 4,928 people.

If you assume everyone in B.C. voting for each side was located in each community separately for Oliver, the total you arrive at is 17.47 per cent for the non-supporting side and 28.85 per cent for the supporting side in Oliver. This assumes only 46.32 per cent of the community of Oliver voted in total on the issue. This is a respectable turn out but not a whole accurate statement of all communities. 

For the town of Osoyoos, these numbers would be reflected as 5,085 residents in 2016 census, 16.9 per cent in non-support and 27.9 per cent in support of. The total support for Osoyoos would be 44.9 per cent if all votes were from that community. You can do the same for Keremeos, Cawston, OK Falls and Penticton and get similar numbers.

The real paltry turnout is the total number of people who remain unaware of the issue enough to vote in all the communities combined or are not engaged in the issue so far.

The total population of petition voters available for Oliver, Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls, Keremeos and Penticton is roughly 48,416. So that means 1.7 per cent votes in non-support of the total potential communities listed by population of all combined.

For the supportive side 2.9 per cent would be the total voting power on their end. In the end only 4.6 per cent of the communities combined weighed into the issue. That to me is a paltry showing for an issue that will affect the area for generations to come.

You can further break down the issue and divide the numbers by the total number of towns, finding that the percentage of voters drops even more significantly for each side. So in the end, less than five per cent of affected areas residents will help determine the shape of the South Okanagan.

So whether you do, don’t or just don’t know yet, educate yourself and make an informed choice as best you can.

Shawn Hathaway, Oliver

3 COMMENTS

  1. In our democracy we do not hold votes for every government action.
    That being said . . . polls support this national park.

    Let’s get going and develop a world-class National Park . . . here in the South Okanagan.

    Bob Parker
    Rural Oliver

  2. We do hold votes for actions that affect communities in such a sweeping motion, not holding a vote on this issue is the very opposite of a democratic and transparent process. Minority numbers that do not reflect the community as a whole are numbers that should not be the determining factor in this decision either way. Weather you are for or against these numbers are appalling in deciding the areas future. A poll that saw less then 5 percent of the affected communities by this cast a vote is scary.Statistically that is within a margin of error as a whole. What is usually the deciding vote in a business decision?, generally is requires a voting majority of 51%. If neither side can muster up that 51% or better of the residents votes, then that says that people just are uninterested either for or against it. If that is the case then campaign till one side can reach that, until that time no park.

    Everyone is aware of the housing issues communities face across BC and especially here in the Okanagan. Where do you purpose all these people stay, when the the borders and expansion of Oliver & Osoyoos are halted permanently? The ARL won’t be giving up farming land for expansion to house visitors and workers. Density can only supplement for so long, before is prices everyone out of the market and businesses have no employees or little to draw from. Where are all the 20.00 and under an hour workers going to stay to work in the area should this project generate even half the number of jobs quoted?

    Are you prepared for even higher municipal taxes in order for more capital and infrastructure projected need for this? What about increased expenditures for maintenance of these infrastructures? An increase of people like that will also increase policing costs and man power needed, where do you think that money is going to come from?

    Would you make a business choice based on a 5% chance or voting membership?

    Would you vote on further development of an area that the pro side wants to protect and help to recover?

    Does a patient recover by constantly cutting them open, or do you let them recover?

    How do you protect an area by further disturbing it and bringing more people into it?

    Where is the data that says current conservation methods have a more negative impact on untouched lands as they are now?

    How exactly does establishing an NPR guarantee the preservation of the land and animals within it?

    Pro-side what plans does parks Canada have to preserve and help local wildlife flush as you and they want? I haven’t seen even a proposal or outline that even hints at an idea have you?

    Where is the development plan that addresses traffic, highway upgrades and expansion through the south okanagan to handle 100,000 to 300,000 visitors as purposed?

    What areas of land are you willing to give up to create permanent housing for 700 employees and thousands of visitors visitors should that prove to be an accurate number?

    We can’t house the people already here adequately enough and you want to add more? We simply don’t have infrastructure and land to develop like that do we?

    The numbers from a business stand point do not reflect this as a sustainable model for any and all of the communities. Yes there are some brief benefits in the short term, however the long term costs that come with it do not show a positive economic growth in correlation with the preservation and enhancement of the areas ecological environments. To put it in simpler terms you don’t cut down 10 healthy trees to save a single a tree.

  3. Let’s not forget that the no park petition was directed at residents of the Southern Okanagan who would be affected by the development of this park whereas the pro park petition was open to anyone who wished to vote for it and many of those who voted in favour were from outside of BC, let alone the Southern Okanagan!

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