The South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society (SOSPS) is pleased to present a newly commissioned poll regarding the proposed National Park Reserve.
This contentious issue has many residents concerned about the environmental and economic impacts of a new National Park Reserve. The new poll was commissioned by the SOSPS through the firm Innovative Research Group, with emphasis on gathering data scientifically to provide clear insight regarding local opinion and support for the proposed National Park Reserve.
This December 2018 survey was conducted by INNOVATIVE Research Group among 300 residents of the South Okanagan-Similkameen in communities near the proposed national park reserve. The live-caller telephone interviews took place from December 12th to 19th, 2018. Both landline and cellular telephone numbers were included in the sample. Residents from Oliver, Osoyoos, Cawston, Keremeos, and the surrounding area were included in sample. The margin of error for a random sample of this size is ±5.7% 19 times out of 20.
The results of the poll were a surprising departure from a poll taken in 2010 by McAllister Opinion Research, in which some 69% of respondents are said to have responded in favour of a National Park.
In the newest findings, the pollster discovered that 35% of residents were strongly opposed to the National Park Reserve, while only 27% strongly supported the concept. It is a significant reduction in strong support from the 2010/2015 McAllister poll(s), which was the initial basis for the National Park Reserve proposal. It is important to be clear that the McAllister survey covered a larger area. This is a positive point, as the SOSPS is the first group to find out what actual local residents think, as opposed to the broader area.
Most telling in the newest poll is the support for a referendum to determine if the National Park Reserve should be implemented. An amazing 3 out of 4 residents (75%) of the South Okanagan and Similkameen regions want a referendum on the National Park Reserve.
Comments from local politicians:
The challenge I have at this point is not knowing the total costs to taxpayers. From my time in public office I have always believed in the importance of knowing the costs so that I’m able to weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages of a national park reserve. Most of us, if asked, would never sign a blank check. – Helena Konanz CPC Candidate, South Okanagan West Kootenay Riding
Any plans for a future Park Reserve in the South Okanagan must be built on the consensus of all of the people who live and work in the South Okanagan Similkameen. Linda Larson, MLA Boundary-Similkameen