The public is invited to offer feedback on the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Photo courtesy of Graham Osborne

The public is invited to offer feedback on the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Photo courtesy of Graham Osborne

South Okanagan-Similkameen national park consultations postponed

Meetings with South Okanagan-Similkameen conservation groups cancelled

Information sessions on the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen that were to take place this week have been postponed.

According to Parks Canada media relations specialist Dominique Tessier, the meeting are rescheduled for later this month. Grasslands Coalition, the British Columbia Wildlife Federation and the South Okanagan-Similkameen Preservation Society were to meet for a session on Feb. 12 and the South Okanagan Naturalist Club and First Things First Okanagan were to meet on Feb. 13.

Related: Consultations to play a critical role in shaping proposed national park

“(Meetings) are being rescheduled for later this month to allow the presence of senior officials from Parks Canada responsible for park establishment,” said Tessier in a news release. “Meetings with the lead representatives of these key groups will enable Parks Canada officials to hear the interests and perspectives of each organization first-hand as part of the consultations.”

Related: Public invited to comment on South Okanagan-Similkameen national park

Some people in the region have concerns about the use of Crown land within the proposed park, including the ranching community. Others are concerned about what activities, such as the use of all-terrain vehicles, will be allowed inside the proposed national park boundaries. Plans to assess the feasibility of the park have been in the works since 2003.

Related: Restricted use hot topic during national park meeting

A poll recently commissioned by the South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society show 35 per cent of the 300 respondents were strongly opposed, while 27 per cent supported the national park.

Related: ‘No’ respondents are the majority in national reserve survey

Parks Canada invites Canadians to share their views on the proposed boundary for the national park reserve and provide their input on key aspects for consideration in the management of the lands through the consultation website until Feb. 28 by visiting https://letstalksouthokanagansimilkameen.ca/Okanagan.

Hard copies of the consultation survey and information package can be found at local municipalities, regional district offices, and libraries.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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