Environmental heavies from both the federal and provincial government are convening local politicians for a big announcement Friday — an announcement reportedly involving a national park or conservation reserve in the South Okanagan.
But don’t expect news a new national park is going to be created.
A source close to the event says BC’s NDP government is back to working closely with Parks Canada.
The big announcement, the source said, involves an agreement involving the two parties — and local governments — to renew in earnest work to create the park.
Nevertheless, Catherine McKenna, the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, is reportedly scheduled to be joined by her provincial counterpart, George Heyman, at the Friday morning announcement at Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip.
Also reportedly invited to attend are representatives from the Town of Osoyoos, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and Osoyoos Indian Band.
In July, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) said completing work already underway to develop a national park reserve for the South Okanagan-Similkameen was one of 13 easy steps Canada could take to meet its commitment to a fast-approaching biological diversity pact.
CPAWS also said the park would be an “easy win” for John Horgan’s New Democratic government.
The national park CPAWS has in mind for the South Okanagan consists of a larger connected space and with fewer land uses than that championed by the former Liberal government.
Such a park is still several years out, it added.
The South Okanagan Parks concept has divided local landowners and users, with many in favour of developing the park and others opposed.