Image from No National Park coalition website.

Image from No National Park coalition website.

Discussions continue on proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen national park

Public consultations to follow regarding South Okanagan-Similkameen proposed national park reserve

The Government of Canada and the B.C. Government have begun discussions with the Syilx/Okanagan Nation in relation to the boundaries of the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

According to a release from Parks Canada Agency, “the goal is to have an agreement on a boundary for the proposed national park reserve and the concept for its operations in place within the next year.”

After consultations, the next step is the formal establishment of a national park and a negotiation of required agreements.

Related: Parks Canada has ‘general concept’ in mind for South Okanagan-Similkameen park

“Public consultations will begin in the near future,” reads the release. “The views of stakeholders, and the issues, concerns and opportunities that they put forward, have been extremely helpful, and are contributing to the content being developed for public consultation.”

Plans to assess the feasibility of a national park in the region have been in the works since 2003. The project has created a divided camp between locals, with the No National Park coalition arguing “park proponents fail to understand the potential victims (such as) those individual persons who might lose part or all of their livelihoods and property have Constitutional Rights, including the right to protection of their psychological integrity,” according to their website.

“The creation of a new national park reserve is a complex process and the governments of Canada and British Columbia, along with Syilx/Okanagan partners, are taking the necessary time to ensure that all parties are properly engaged and that the appropriate consideration is given at each stage,” states the release. “Parks Canada is committed to undertaking meaningful consultation with Indigenous communities, partners, stakeholders and local residents as well as the broader Canadian public.”

For current information about the proposed national park reserve within the South Okanagan-Similkameen, visit www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/cnpn-cnnp/okanagan.

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

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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