Archives for February 12, 2019
The South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society has been in negotiations with Parks Canada for the past 3 weeks to host a “stakeholders” meeting regarding the proposed National Park Reserve. Only on Feb 8th (4 days prior) did our group receive confirmation. The day after (Feb 9th) sending out invitations to our membership, Parks Canada wanted to limit the debate to only 150 “stakeholders” total.
In a recent event, yesterday evening within 24 hrs of the “stakeholders” meeting, Parks Canada has cancelled the event.
Many, many members from various organizations like the BCWF, Grassland Coalition and the SOSPS had indicated relief that there was finally going to be a open-mic conversation about the Park. Sadly, this would have been the first “public” meeting for the issue. Many had committed to drive from all regions, no matter the weather to express their questions and concerns. Many also indicated that they were waiting for this “stakeholders” meeting to satisfy unanswered questions before taking the Parks Canada Consultation Poll, release last December which ends February 28 2019.
If the promise to have a conversation with local residents can be broken last-minute to the convenience of Parks Canada, is this an indication of the integrity they will practice in the future with promises regarding any aspect of the process? When an agenda or tough questions are being made, shutting down and controlling the conversation is disingenuous, and lack any accountability to local taxpayers.
For an organization that promised local input, this decision by Parks Canada to shut down the conversation during the “consultation period” has done irreparable harm to the trust that locals have for our Federal Government and the democratic process.
South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society
Consultations with residents of the region are an important part of assessing the establishment of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.
The information sessions on the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen on
February 12 with the Grasslands Coalition, the British Columbia Wildlife Federation and the South Okanagan–Similkameen Preservation Society and on
February 13 with local Naturalist Clubs and First Things First Okanagan
are being rescheduled for later this month to allow the presence of senior officials from Parks Canada responsible for park establishment. Meetings with the lead representatives of these key groups will enable Parks Canada officials to hear the interests and perspectives of each organization first-hand as part of the consultations.
Parks Canada apologizes for the short notice and inconvenience that this may cause the membership of these organizations. Lead representatives of these organizations will be contacted in the near future with further details.