First Nations (Syilx Parks Working Group):
The Okanagan Nation Alliance supports the park, as long as Parks Canada respects the Syilx Title, rights and interests. They have recently completed their own feasibility assessment of the proposed park. According to the ONA, Parks Canada must respect the Syilx Title, Rights, and interests, and be a collaborative and consensus based model with Parks Canada similar to those in Gwaii Haanas.
In 2010, the Premier Christy Clark stated the following:
“While the feasibility study determined a national park reserve was feasible, it also recognized there was a large contingent of people opposed to the initiative. As with other national protected area initiatives involving Crown lands, the Province considers local and regional government, First Nations, stakeholder and public support as critical towards supporting the transfer of lands and eventual designation for federal protected area purposes.”
In 2012, the Minister of Environment, Terry Lake, stated that there was still “a large contingent of people opposed to the initiative”.
In 2015, in a significant turn of events, the B.C. Ministry of Environment announced a new proposed protected areas framework for the South Okanagan that included two areas of interest being considered for national park status, and one area being considered for provincial conservancy status.
Because of the conclusions drawn by the BC government in 2012, Parks Canada announced that “it respects the position of the Government of British Columbia regarding the creation of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan – Lower Similkameen Valley and recognizes that it cannot proceed without the support of the Government of British Columbia. If the province changes its position and indicates it is prepared to proceed, Parks Canada would resume its work in this area. In order to respect the province’s perspective, Parks Canada will not publicly engage stakeholders on the proposal at this time.”
For more information, see: