LSIB still forming opinion about National Park

LSIB still forming opinion about
National Park and conservation strategies.

 

The Chief of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band thinks his people are being misrepresented when it comes to the formation of a National Park or any type conservancy solution in the area.

Chief Kieth Crow brought up concerns that the non-aboriginal public might have a different view of where the band stands during a Similkameen Valley Planning Society meeting last week.

“I received an email about the intentions paper just like everyone else. There were no discussions prior to it coming out between the Ministry and us,” Crow told the Review following the SVPS meeting.

Crow said at this time LSIB members are considering the intentions paper and the band has no formal statement regarding what has been proposed.

“My personal opinion as myself is we need to stop development from coming up the hills. We need to protect the land,” he said. “But as a group we haven’t met yet to form our official stance. We’re working on this now.”

The province reopened the National Park debate by releasing its intentions paper Aug. 13.

The province is proposing a large area, west of Osoyoos and south of Highway 3 to the U.S., be considered by Parks Canada for inclusion in a South Okanagan National Park Reserve.

Likewise, part of the White Lake basin and extending down past Willowbrook, west of Hwy. 97, is also being put forward for national park status.

Between them, the two cover several protected areas, including the White Lake Grasslands, Spotted Lake, the Osoyoos Desert Centre and the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area sites of East and West Chopaka.

A third area, covering west of Oliver towards Cawston, and north of Highway 3 to the southern border of the White Lake Grasslands, is being recommended as a conservancy under the B.C. Park Act.

Although he had no official comments about the new boundaries being suggested, Crow did say the band would not approve giving up any of its rights and titles with regards to their land.

Crow said in the last several weeks he’s had a meeting with the Minister of Environment and plans are to hold another in the coming weeks.

The Review requested an interview with someone from the Ministry but was denied instead receiving emailed answers to several questions.

The Ministry of Environment stated the proposed boundaries in the Intentions Paper are not intended to reflect precise boundaries but are conceptual and intended to garner feedback on three broad areas as outlined in the paper.

“It also needs to be clarified that the Intentions Paper does not indicate that the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, or any other First Nation, has agree to put their lands into a provincial or national park,” the email stated, adding in a separate point,

“The Ministry of Environment has been undertaking interest-based conversations with member nations of the Okanagan Nation Alliance to better understand their interests in this area.”

At this point the province has not consulted with Parks Canada about the new boundaries being proposed for a National Park but has stated they are collecting public input and looking at a new framework for a national park in the South Okanagan.

The email from the Ministry of Environment states its too early in the process to have a budget or even a plan for any public meetings on the proposal.

A 60-day comment period is coming to a close Oct. 31. The comment period was extended from the original date of Oct. 12.

BC Parks will review the feedback and publicly post a Consultation Report along with final recommendations in early 2016.

To leave a comment visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/protected-areas-framework-s-okanagan.html.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

100 miles in 24 hours: a B.C. man’s mission to support the less fortunate

Merrit’s Darius Sam felt he needed to help his community after an encounter with a starving woman

COLUMN: Diminished Parliament means diminished accountability for Canadians

Bloc Quebecois and NDP use resumption of parliament as bargaining chip

Penticton Farmers Market prepares for return

The weekly market was put on-hold for months due to COVID-19

Kelowna couple pedalling past loss of sight

Pauline and Jim Marshall said it’s important to be patient with each other

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Police investigating after hydrant hit by van in West Kelowna

The incident occurred around 5:40 p.m. near Boucherie Road

Pregnant Revelstoke woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said she felt like she was in a horror movie when she discovered she had COVID-19

Vernon chamber backs council’s opposition of downtown overdose prevention site

The chamber sent a letter to B.C.’s health minister calling for the site not to be located downtown

Princeton RCMP stop men intent on jumping off bridge

Princeton RCMP investigating a trespassing complaint arrived in time to stop two… Continue reading

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

Bird knocks out power for thousands in North Okanagan

Evening outage was brief, but affected nearly 3,000 residents

Most Read