Here are some bold statements: The National Park Reserve is a reality. It’s coming. There is nothing you can do to stop it. BUT, you can help to shape it.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has been in BC for several days to visit, see fires and meet with supporters and others about the new/old Reserve.
She doesn’t stay long and says things like – “there are beautiful forests here”, “it’s clear there are some misconceptions” “yes even some actual concerns, that are important and need a response”
Meeting with stakeholders at a Penticton Office. Penticton is not in the NP Reserve area. Hard to identify all in attendance. Karla Kozakevich, Chair of Regional District Okanagan-Similikameen (yellow top). To her left Joan McKay, BC Wildlife Federation of Oliver.
McKenna met with Clarence Louie in Osoyoos Friday: McKenna says a dialogue on the NP Reserve serves to renew a nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples. McKenna says further consultations will occur this fall including public meetings in the communities affected by a reserve. She seeks agreement with all partners which includes three native band areas, the province of BC, conservation and environmental groups. She says she met with ranchers, helicopter companies and others that have serious concern. No one here blames the native bands for wanting more control over land never ceded to the crown. May your negotiations go well in getting a piece of the pie to manage and to the protection of icons in “oral history”.
Tourism seems to be a high priority with this guest in the room – Glenn Mandziuk of Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association.
What seems to be the plan. Keep stating the Park is here and dissent is really being ignored. Parks Canada staff have been charged with meeting with those with serious concerns – but there is NO – NO option.
1. define the boundaries
2. sign agreements
3. begin implementation
So arguments should be directed to “define the boundaries” – Here is one suggestion:
a. White Lake basin – Lots of land owned by federal government and other park land reserve organizations. Find a way to stretch that boundary over the hill to cover McIntrye Bluff, Vaseux Lake and all the land in that area already designated as not for private use.
b. Border to Highway 3 – all non-privately owned land Osoyoos to Nighthawk junction. Include Mt. Kobau and all access to it.
c. Include all non tenured crown land – that truly represents “endangered grasslands”
d. leave the Fairview to Willowbrook corridor to the provincial government to control and amplify conservation efforts
e. protect all historical icons of the indigenous peoples identified by the 3 bands on the west side of valley
Couple more suggestions:
Stop having meetings in Penticton, stop consulting with supporters living in Penticton. Understand the Reserve is NOT in Penticton. If the people of the South Okanagan – south of Skaha Lake are important – meet with them, hold meetings in Osoyoos and Oliver. Keep treating dissenters as dumb, not very articulate “quad driving, beer drinking thugs”. That will stir the pot more. Define boundaries, have a vote. The people deserve such a vote for such a far reaching decision that will reshape our valley in ways we can not quite comprehend. Statements like ” we must leave this earth in better shape ” is just pap – fund education, fund hospital care, put actual $$$ into the mix and protect the soil, the water, the sky – and stop telling us what we need – ” a message from far far away. ”
Remember that there are those that say Yes or No. The vast majority of people are silent. Non-committed. The only way they can speak is at the ballot box.