Protestors in the Keremeos region against the national park reserve. Parks Canada will be sharing results from its public consultation on the proposed park in the coming week. (Western News file photo)

Parks Canada to share results from proposed national park public consultation

Feedback was collected from December 2018 to March 2019, aim is for an agreement by summer 2019

Parks Canada is ready to share the feedback it heard from residents of the South Okanagan on the proposed national park reserve.

The public consultation period conducted by the government agency wrapped up March 15, following multiple presentations and community meetings with residents and stakeholders. The polarizing debate about whether the South Okanagan-Similkameen is a suitable area for a national park has drawn both support and criticism from affected residents.

READ ALSO: National park talk turns up mistrust in federal government

“Parks Canada undertook broad and extensive consultations with local residents, stakeholders, and all Canadians to hear their views on the proposed boundary for the proposed national park reserve and key aspects for consideration in the management of the lands. The valuable input of all will be taken into consideration in the assessment of the establishment of the proposed national park reserve,” states a release. “Input from the public consultations will be published in the “What We Heard” report—developed by a third-party consultant—on the Let’s Talk South Okanagan-Similkameen web site on May 13.”

Parks Canada will also be hosting public information sessions with the report in Oliver at the Venables Theatre on May 14 from 12 to 8 p.m., in Osoyoos at the Sonora Community Centre from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on and in Keremeos at the Victory Hall from 4 to 8 p.m. on May 15, and in Penticton at the Shatford Centre on May 16 from 12 to 8 p.m.

READ ALSO: South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park public consultation period extended

“The goal is to have an agreement on a final boundary for the proposed national park reserve by summer 2019,” states the release. “Afterwards, steps would be undertaken towards the formal establishment of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

“A new national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen would protect one of the most endangered natural regions in Canada and enable this inspiring landscape to be shared with Canadians and visitors from around the world for generations to come.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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