LETTERS: National park conditions

I believe that negotiations will produce a series of proposals that will please the pre-existing businesses and all other users of the area.

Recently (Western News, Dec. 5) MLA Dan Ashton stated that he supported the national park on the condition that all of the existing activities were accommodated.  Sometimes statements like this sound like political manoeuvring, but in this case Aston is right.

The ranchers, helicopter company and mineral tenure owners are pre-existing businesses that must and will be accommodated – the Province and Canada agreed to this in their initial inter-government agreement in 2002 and this was covered in the 2011 provincial/federal feasibility report?’ recommendations.

For hunters, they got over 50 per cent of the proposed park removed as that part had the high value hunting.  The only things that exist in the grasslands that they can hunt are mule deer and game birds (and an occasional bear and cougar in the non-grasslands part of the park). The feasibility study recommended that this be accommodated on lands outside the proposed park.

Fishing is allowed in a national park. ATVing in the grasslands is illegal.

As chair of the Province of B.C.’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, Ashton had to be neutral.  Yet, this committee stated that the economic and job development opportunities were so significant, and the support was so strong, that they recommended that the Government of B.C. work with the federal government and local stakeholders to support the establishment of a national park in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. The national park dossier is on the Premier Clark’s desk. Only she can initiate negotiations between the Provincial government and Parks Canada.

I believe that negotiations will produce a series of proposals that will please the pre-existing businesses and all other users of the area.

A national park will keep that extraordinary landscape intact and undeveloped. Over 30 per cent of the province’s endangered species (i.e. 57 species) exist in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen in a national park, these will be protected and restored. The Province’s own data identifies 334 species and 59 ecosystems in the RDOS as high priority for conservation, yet they don’t have the funds to protect them, the federal government is required by law to do this.

Ashton recognizes the incredible values (historical, ecological, educational and economic) that the park will bring to this region and supports the park on the condition that these issues are resolved.  Will the park opposition be equally respectful and conciliatory?  Will they support the park if their issues are resolved? Or are they hell bent on blocking these benefits from this region and the 3,500 other businesses that want the national park, no matter what?

Their current opposition could ensure that the economic, job development opportunities are lost, the land will become developed, and the species that make our region so unique will be lost forever.

J. Ginns


Just Posted

2.5 years in Penticton courthouse over neighbour assault ends

Man pleaded guilty, withdrew, stood trial, pleaded guilty to assault described by Crown as ‘vicious’

Country star takes a dip for charity

Brett Kissel went for a dip in Okanagan Lake while in Penticton to raise money for Her International

Pursuit of Excellence defeats OHA in female prep hockey final

Okanagan Hockey Academy lost to Pursuit of Excellence 6-3 at the CSSHL final in Penticton

Oliver holds onto Wine Capital of Canada designation

It might be hard to swallow for other communities but Oliver remains Wine Capital of Canada

Carmi students start their day with Olympic inspiration

Brent Hayden, 2012 swimming bronze medalist, waded through Penticton and Summerland schools

What’s happening

Find out what events are taking place this weekend in the Okanagan and Shuswap

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

Most Read