South Okanagan-Similkameen national park public consultation underway | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan-Similkameen national park public consultation underway

Parks Canada has begun the public consultation process for a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.
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December 11, 2018 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - Parks Canada says public consultation has begun with respect to a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen through a website.

The announcement makes no mention of consultation with local groups and communities, or public information sessions, which regional directors were told would be the case during a September board meeting, when Parks Canada representative Sarah Boyle said consultations would start in November, and while “largely online” would also involve work with local groups and communities, in addition to public information sessions.

Parks Canada hopes to begin establishment of a national park reserve by next summer, following the formation of park boundaries and a management system for the area.

In a press release issued yesterday, Dec. 10, Parks Canada formally announced the launch of public consultation portion of the process.

"The South Okanagan-Similkameen is a unique area that has great ecological significance for many people. We are committed to working with the federal government and the Syilx/Okanagan Nation to establish a new national park reserve that contributes positively to local and regional economies," B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said in the release.

The public consultation process is seeking input on the proposed boundary and key aspects for the management of the proposed national park reserve. The press release indicated the public consultation process will receive input online through a website until Feb. 28, 2019.

Parks Canada says once feedback has been collected, a report will be prepared and provided to the public. The report will include a summary and analysis of the consultation results, which will be used to make future recommendation regarding the proposed park reserve.

Parks Canada expects the process will result in a boundary agreement for the proposed national park reserve as well and a management approach to the land by the summer of 2019. Once a boundary and management system is in place, formal establishment of a national park reserve would then begin.

You can participate in the consultation at the Let's Talk South Okanagan-Similkameen website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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