Governments likely to draft national park reserve boundaries before public is consulted

Parks Canada, along with provincial and First Nations partners, will likely draft proposed boundaries for a new national park reserve in the South Okanagan before consulting the public.

But those boundaries have still not been determined and the consultation process is still unclear.

“At this time, the most likely option is that the parties will develop and release a boundary concept for public consultation,” the federal agency said in an emailed response to the Osoyoos Times last week.

The timing and format of any public consultations have not yet been determined, said the email from Meaghan Bradley, communications officer with Parks Canada Agency (PCA).

“Following the beginning of meetings between the three parties, next steps include the identification of park concept boundaries and consultations,” she wrote. “No boundaries or park concepts have been defined at this time. As discussions resume, the area of interest will primarily focus on the areas that were the subject of previous consideration.”

PCA says a significant amount of information was gathered during the 2015 provincial consultation on a protected areas boundary for the South Okanagan, “that should prove useful to the development of park concept boundaries.”

Public consultations, including with local First Nations, will play a key role in defining the park concept, PCA says.

“These discussions will also take into consideration the continuation of ranching and recreational activities in the region,” the email added.