The Boundary-Similkameen’s representative in the provincial legislature is asking the Town of Osoyoos to join its Oliver cousin in calling for a referendum on a proposed local national park reserve.
“As MLA for the Boundary-Similkameen representing our mutual constituents in the Legislative Assembly of BC, I am writing to ask your Mayor and Council to also request the Federal Government and Parks Canada hold a referendum during the next Federal Election in October of 2019,” writes MLA Linda Larson in a letter addressed to Council.
“I strongly feel that it is in the best interests of the people that reside in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.”
Ms. Larson notes Town of Oliver Council on Feb. 25 made a similar request for the referendum. She added the issue appears to be important among constituents.
“My office has been deluged with phone calls and emails and I have been approached by many constituents asking for a referendum,” she writes. “A recent poll of residents in Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Cawston released in January showed 76 per cent of people are in support of a referendum on the issue.”
The poll was commissioned by the South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society (SOSPS) and conducted in December 2018.
Ms. Larson appears on the home page of the SOSPS website, and states her objection to the park:
“I do not now, nor have I ever believed that Parks Canada is the best choice to protect and preserve our grasslands. I believe the Province of BC and the many other organizations, like the BCWF, BCCA and the Nature Trust of BC have protected and continue to protect the environmentally sensitive lands and wildlife of the South Okanagan.”
Other polling, however, suggests a majority of residents support the development of a national park reserve.
Council is expected to receive Ms. Larson’s letter this afternoon during a regular meeting.