Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Activities allowed in a national park

Activities deemed necessary in our world are allowed even in our national parks

In a recent news media interview, Dave Schwarzenberger, general manager of the HNZ helicopter training company, once again laid out their concerns that the company would be excluded from areas in which they currently train pilots when the national park reserve is established.

This came in spite of numerous assurances, written and verbal, from Parks Canada that they would be allowed to continue their operations within the new park boundaries. Obviously, however, they would negotiate the terms with the federal rather than the provincial authorities as they now do.

Mr. Schwarzenberger even states the latest such response: “We’ve been given assurance, even Minister McKenna (Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change) joked when we met that she knows the Defence Minister well, and she’d put in a good word,” Schwartzenberger said. “We just need assurances that our business can continue.”

I’m not sure how much more ‘assurance’ one could get other than that exact phrase and when not once over about 16 years has Parks Canada ever hinted otherwise.

To those who worry that helicopters will be forbidden in the airspace over the national park reserve, I can tell you from personal experience that tourist viewing flights are allowed on certain days of the week in Banff NP, regular flights take hikers into Assiniboine PP through Banff airspace, and there are likely plenty more such examples in other parks. It’s annoying when one is in the backcountry but it’s legal.

Whether some people like it or not, such activities deemed necessary in our world are allowed even in our national parks; no reason to think that it will be any different here.

Eva Durance

Penticton

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