Parks Canada has released a working boundary for its proposed national park reserve. The boundaries include areas between Highway 3 and Highway 97. (Parks Canada)
Anyone who hasn’t participated in Parks Canada’s online consultation process for the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan now has an extra two weeks to do so.
Originally slated to end on Feb. 28, Parks Canada announced Monday evening that its online survey will remain open until March 15.
“This will allow stakeholder groups who had their meetings rescheduled to late February an opportunity to submit their views on the proposed boundary and provide their input on key aspects for consideration in the management of the lands,” the organization stated in a press release.
After a meeting with Parks Canada, organized by the South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society (SOSPS), was cancelled the day before it was to happen, the society requested that public consultation be extended until the end of April.
“There has been insufficient time for the public at large in the region to make an informed decision of the issue of the South Okanagan National Park reserve,” the society stated.
At the time, Parks Canada said the meeting would be rescheduled so that senior officials could attend.
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The SOSPS said it reached out to Parks Canada to instead host the meeting on Feb. 26, but was told no representative could attend.
“Parks Canada said it would not attend the meeting, but that it would be a good opportunity to pass out the survey that is part of the consultation process,” the SOSPS stated.
The SOSPS said it will continue to request that Parks Canada hold a public meeting regarding the proposed park.
However, Parks Canada confirmed that its meetings with stakeholders will still conclude on Feb. 28, as originally planned.
Parks Canada’s survey can be completed at letstalksouthokanagansimilkameen.ca/Okanagan and hard copies and information package can be found at local municipalities, regional district offices and libraries. A video presentation is also available online.
“We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to provide their input so far,” Parks Canada stated. “Consultations with residents of the region are an important part of assessing the establishment of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan–Similkameen.”