The Ministry of Environment has analysed thousands of submissions received from British Columbians in response to the Intentions Paper on a Protected Areas Framework for British Columbia’s South Okanagan.
The 81-day public comment period, following the release of the intentions paper in August 2015 seeking feedback on land protection measures in the South Okanagan, generated 3,460 responses.
The feedback shows the public is very interested and passionate about issues of environmental protection, First Nations cultural values, tourism and recreation opportunities in the South Okanagan.
Themes identified throughout the submissions included the need to ensure connectivity between areas, to preserve and protect the remaining biodiversity of the South Okanagan, and to recognize the importance of hunting, fishing, tourism, ranching and recreation in the area.
Several additional areas were suggested as requiring protection, including areas around Vaseux Lake and the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area. Comments also focused heavily on respecting existing land use commitments, such as access and recreational activities in regards to the Okanagan Shuswap Land and Resource Management Plan.
The provincial government will consider all feedback when developing the final recommendations, and continue to engage with First Nations to better understand their interests prior to any final decisions. The Province is expected to move forward on a decision later this year.
Please find the full report available here: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/pdfs/consultation-summary-so-ip.pdf
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“Thank you to everyone who submitted comments about the South Okanagan. Your feedback is invaluable to help us satisfy the varying interests in this special and unique region. Our intent with the final recommendations is to protect significant geographic and cultural values, while providing recreation and tourism opportunities for future generations to enjoy.”