By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos council unanimously slammed the door on Linda Larson’s request to push the federal government to hold a regionsl referendum on the proposal for a South Okanagan national park reserve.
The Boundary Similkameen MLA sent a letter to council asking it to follow the lead of Oliver council and pass a resolution to “… request the Federal Government and Parks Canada hold a referendum during the next Federal Election in October of 2019. I strongly feel that it is in the best interests of the people that reside in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.”
All five members of Osoyoos council offered opinions on why they believe such a letter is a bad idea, mostly saying there is already an avenue for public feedback, there has been all manner of discussion on the subject and that it would be a waste of council and staff time.
Mayor Sue McKortoff pointed out that council has consistently and unanimously been in favour of the proposed national park for as long as the subject has been in the public sphere.
The mayor said such a park “would be good for the area.” She said there is a large amount of information about the proposal on the town’s website.
She urged residents to make their views known to Parks Canada, which will continue to receive (public input) until the middle of March.”
Larson has been a vocal opponent of the national park proposal. Her letter said: “My office has been deluged with phone calls and emails and I have been approached by many constituents asking for a referendum. A recent poll of residents in Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Cawston released in January showed 76 per cent of people are in support of a referendum on the issue.”
McKortoff agreed to send an email to Larson telling her of council’s decision.