Park study worthwhile
I must take issue with your editorial of March 1 entitled “National park study short on substance”. Your comment that: “the ONA study provides no new information on support for the park” seems to miss the whole point of the study, which was to determine if the ONA, and in particular the bands in the proposed park area, could support the concept. And the study concludes, after studying other areas where Parks Canada and First Nations work together (such as Gwaii Haanas) that in fact the ONA can support the park concept. So the level of support for the park has just taken a great step forward.
You go on to say “there is nothing in the $400,000 study that would sway opinions on what proved to be an extremely divisive issue for the region.” If by “sway opinions,” you mean the small minority of non-aboriginals against the park, then once again you miss the whole point of the study. The study was not carried out to determine whether non-aboriginals should support the park; it was carried out to see if the ONA should support the park. Your line of reasoning is akin to saying you studied the rule book about getting a driver’s licence and were then dismayed because it didn’t help you get an airline pilot’s licence.
Finally, your statement that “…supporters of the park fought valiantly to keep Parks Canada from shelving the plan …” is just plain wrong. It was the province of B.C. that shelved the plan when they prematurely withdrew from any further discussions. Since the Crown land involved in the proposed park area is provincial Crown land, Parks Canada could hardly carry on with its study. If your realtor called you about a house you had been negotiating to buy, only to tell you that the seller had taken it off the market, you probably wouldn’t want it said that you broke off negotiations.
Yes, I wish the ONA had backed the park proposal right from the beginning, but now they seem to be on board and we can only hope that Minister Lake can do likewise.