Two weeks ago Parks Canada hosted their “What We Heard” presentation in the local towns and cities by the proposed National Park Reserve, in the South Okanagan Similkameen region of British Columbia.
The South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society (SOSPS) attended many of these public meetings, but had more questions than Parks Canada could answer at the time.
Since then, Parks Canada has divulged the results of their survey pertaining to area and populations. The results are quite telling in that there was very little participation by the communities most affected by the proposal.
From our own research, the local community (59 per cent) feels that Parks Canada has done a very poor job of communicating with the locals. Trust in the federal government to “do the right thing” is at an all time low, according to the local community.
Going by the numbers, this hardly represents a healthy proportion of feedback.
More likely, it reflects the apathy most locals had (and still have) for the process of Parks Canada’s lack of transparency in the development of the park proposal.
The SOSPS remains confirmed that a local referendum of towns and rural districts that flank the proposed park area is the only way forward. Without the support of the local communities, this will be yet another federal boondoggle project that will cost the local community dearly, all while pleasing a very vocal minority of people who do not live in the region.
South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society