Govt Documents Reveal Huge Support For South Okanagan National Park
BC government documents obtained by the Wilderness Committee reveal huge public support for a South Okanagan National Park
VANCOUVER, BC – The Wilderness Committee has recently obtained government information that suggests Victoria is downplaying overwhelming public support for the designation of a large national park reserve in the South Okanagan region of BC.
This directly contradicts the BC government’s Consultation Summary Report that minimized both the level of support and interest in having all of the proposed protected areas within the national park reserve.
In the 5,000-page Freedom of Information (FOI) request, it was revealed that 92 per cent of the submissions to the BC government from individuals and 80.5 per cent of submissions from business, local government and other regional agencies were supportive of the Province’s proposed strategy to protect areas in the South Okanagan. Over 70 per cent of the submissions from local communities also supported the BC government’s strategy for more protection.
The FOI also revealed that majority of submissions recommended that Area 2 including Mount Kobau, which the Province had proposed be aside as a provincial conservancy, be included in the national park reserve.
“Why the BC government has chosen to suppress information that shows that the public overwhelmingly supports all areas, including Area 2 to be in the national park reserve is a mystery to us,” said Joe Foy, National Campaign Director with the Wilderness Committee.
A national park reserve is expected to provide 772 new jobs locally, and $57 million in annual visitor spending in the region.
“In our opinion Victoria and local MLA Linda Larson need to pay more attention to feedback that came right from their own public consultation process – designation of a national park reserve with all the areas protected is good for democracy, for the environment and the economy too. It’s time to make this highly popular dream of a national park reserve, into reality,” said Foy.