The National Park Feasibility Study started in 2004 has been released to various parties in the province including the NDP and some media sources.
You can press the link above for complete detail but expect some delay in loading it down to your computer.
The feasibility assessment initiated in 2004 is complete. This assessment included a comprehensive process of First Nations engagement, stakeholder and community consultations, and design, evaluation and refinement of a park concept.
The Canada-British Columbia Steering Committee recommends to the Government of Canada and BC:
1. A national park reserve is feasible;
2. The proposed park reserve boundary contained herein be approved at a conceptual level;
3. The governments of Canada and British Columbia sign a Memorandum of Understanding respecting the establishment of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen; and
4. Parks Canada continue to work with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and affected bands to achieve shared understandings regarding the protection and future management of the park proposal area.
The potential socio-economic effects of a national park reserve on communities (namely Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and the surrounding rural areas) include the economic impacts directly associated with park operation jobs, and related broader economic development impacts, primarily in the tourism sector.
Significant positive economic impact of establishing a national park reserve (jobs/dollars spent), if Parks Canada concentrates its facilities in small communities. Income and employment effects are not large but they are long term and continuous.
While the income and employment effects are not large, they are long term and continuous. If Parks Canada concentrates its facilities in small local communities, they are more likely to have a significant positive impact on the economy. While the national park reserve impacts are expected to be positive for communities, the long term residual impacts are expected to be low for community growth and development combined with impacts on private land and other tenures. They are deemed by the assessment as “not significant” over the long term.
Lifestyle was measured by four values: community well-being; rural lifestyle; park-related lifestyle and recreation. The long term residual impacts on community well-being were considered indeterminate (or neutral) and not significant. The impacts on rural lifestyle, most notably ranching, were considered negative; those for park-related lifestyle were predicted to be positive. Neither impact was considered significant.
Lifestyle: The Socio-Economic Assessment said that although both positive and negative residual impacts were noted for lifestyle, the long term residual impacts were rated not significant. For example, the assessment identified some negative effects for rural lifestyle and motorized recreation while positive effects were identified for park-related lifestyle (e.g. education, learning, environmental/aesthetic values) and non-motorized recreation.)
The impacts on public recreation are clearer. Most non-motorized user groups will gain opportunities and better recreation experiences, while Off Road Vehicle recreation users will lose opportunities due to the long term effects that these activities can have on wildlife, species at risk and sensitive habitats. Overall the net effect on public recreation is predicted to be neutral and not significant over the long term. Mitigation steps will be important to ensure all user groups are aware of allowed uses, park policies, management guidelines and transition strategies.
This is only part of a report released to ODN – as more becomes available we will provide a link to government websites with the complete document.
Loss of recreation use opportunities (e.g. hunting, fishing, motorized recreation, horseback riding, hang gliding etc.) Loss of a rural lifestyle
Loss of commercial land use opportunities, economic opportunities (grazing and agriculture), and forestry (opportunities and fire wood cutting)
Increased government involvement
Costs to local residents (fees)
Holistic natural resource management (fire, wildlife)
Desire to maintain current approach to land ownership, management, stewardship and use
Need to mitigate impacts, adequate transition period, fair compensation
Suggestions to reduce the draft Park Concept area (remove South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area, or Snowy Protected Area)
Ecosystem conservation and protection of unique flora and fauna
Sustainable tourism and recreation Natural history and cultural interpretation, education, visitor centres
Enhanced conservation in surrounding areas
Enhanced enforcement, infrastructure and services Economic benefits and job opportunities Recreation and visitor opportunities Research opportunities Protection from development Partnerships for local participation in planning and management Suggestions to expand the Park Concept area (add White Lake-Vaseux, Cathedral Provincial Park, Okanagan Mountain Park).