Facts on Sickle Point

Re: Tentative Sickle Point sale

The two-page mailout on the Sickle Point purchase from the anonymous Kaleden Taxpayers Association combines some reasonable questions with some very questionable half-truths and outright inaccuracies.  Addressing everything isn’t on, so here’s a few remarks on the most egregious errors and corrections from the Save Sickle Point Committee’s current mailout – whose members’ names are on public record – and from my knowledge of the matter.

The RDOS’s Alternate Approval Process is not secretive, underhanded, or outside normal practice.  They are doing the same for the potential Naramata beachfront purchase, and the notices for both were in the Western News for at least two weeks. In both cases, only the Area in which the land in question is located is part of the AAP. Area A for the beach, and Area I for Sickle Point. RDOS also held a public video conference January 13 on the Point purchase

The tax increase chart in the KTA mailout is inaccurate.  The price accepted for the Sickle Point property is $2.5 million, NOT the $3.5 the KTA cites, and some of the purchase price is pledged already from individuals, with more fundraising to come.  As well, the tax increase would start in 2022, not 2021.

I assume that the environmental levy the KTA mentions is the South Okanagan Conservation Fund.  The Sickle Point Committee did apply for funding and may receive some; however, the Fund attracts numerous other applicants for the quite limited funds available each year.

Genuine conservation, and at the Point, much-needed restoration, of wetlands and wildlife habitat do not co-exist well with constant human presence, as in a residence, and the Provincial Riparian Regulations would protect only a narrow strip of land on the Point, thus severely limiting wildlife usefulness. As well, few controls exist over private land use.  For a small, highly sensitive property these would be quite inadequate for genuine protection; eg. private owners could have dogs and free-roaming cats which could devastate wildlife on the property.

The KTA laments that no people are to be allowed into this park, Later, they lament the dogs, vagrants, and parties that will ruin the place!  Contradiction aside, neither is true; limited human use would be on trails with interpretive signage, and as in other nature parks, no camping or parties. Given the proximity to Kaleden and the long community interest in the Point, more monitoring is likely than in most Regional parks.

The RDOS and residents concerned for the valley’s other species have a unique chance to do the right thing:  protect and restore Sickle Point for future generations of ALL species living here.  I heartily commend the people in Kaleden and area for their initiative - and stamina.

Eva Durance

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