Louie not sold on nat'l park

Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band says he’s not yet sold on the concept of a national park reserve in the South Okanagan.

In an open letter earlier this month, Louie said he and the OIB have not received enough information “to have an educated opinion on being for or against a national park reserve.”

“I am in favour of a national park if, and a big if, the feasibility study and negotiating meetings lead to an agreement that covers off the many issues and concerns that Okanagan First Nations people have,” Louie continues.

His letter outlines unanswered questions around protection of aboriginal title and rights, hunting and fishing rights and how and if the park is attached to the BC Treaty Process. Louie says the band also needs more information on how co-management will exist, how jobs will be handled and if the federal government will be able to unilaterally change the agreement.

“Being involved in a feasibility study just like any business does not mean we agree with the project or that the bands agree with the federal and provincial governments concept of a proposed national park,” Louie said. “The fact is no one knows what the final project will look like.”

The South Okanagan Similkameen Preservation Society — a group opposed to the project — is hosting a public meeting tonight, 6:30 p.m. at the Sonora Centre the Osoyoos.

Parks Canada will not be in attendance, but says it will be holding its own open houses this spring once it is finished compiling feedback from the public consultation period.

with files from Oliver Daily News

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