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