A number of headlines and stories in local media this week – all quoting insiders and not Parks Canada – Note to MP – Parks Canada has an abysmal record of communicating what it is doing in this regard and speaks through people not connected directly by the government. Shame.
July 7, 2018
From: Chris Purton – SO Similkameen National Park Network
To: Supporters of the SO Similkameeen National Park Reserve
Last December I sent around a note about the ceremony at the Nk’Mip Centre where high-level representatives of the Federal Government, the Provincial Government, and the Okanagan Nation Alliance announced they would work together to create a National Park Reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.
A copy of that note is attached, in case you’ve forgotten. It was a Big Deal. This note is just to let you know that things are actually moving in a forward direction, but slowly and carefully. The three governments have got together to talk, several times, since the announcement, but are not yet into formal negotiations. Parks Canada, after having had to put the project on hold and move their staff to other jobs, is gearing up again.
They have hired a project manager, Sarah Boyle, who has a lot of experience in this kind of thing . . . just recently she steered Rouge National Urban Park, which is also in a populated area, to a successful conclusion. She will be having an office in the area, here, when things move to the next stage.
We’re told that there will be discussions with `stakeholders’ in the fall (that includes us, the SOSNPN, as well as ranchers and helicopter companies and the like), and a survey of local residents to get their input. We feel quite positive about the way things are going. The Federal Government is currently working on a plan to have 17% of Canada’s land and freshwater protected by 2020 (right now it’s at 10.5%) and the South Okanagan – Similkameen National Park Reserve is high on their list for helping to meet that objective. But we intend to stay involved, to make sure we end up with the best Park that we can get.
Those of you who signed the petition that we sponsored will be pleased to know that it was very positively received when it was presented in the House of Commons. My sense of its unusually good reception is that it came as a relief to the MPs, who in general look forward to the establishment of our Park, to see such a strong reaffirmation of local support — particularly as they’d been faced with a `NO’ petition (paltry in comparison, as it turned out) a short time before.
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