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Chamber calls for land to be acquired for provincial park

VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is urging the provincial government to create a legacy that will drive economic growth and strengthen the community for decades to come.
In a letter to Premier John Horgan and Environment Minister George Heyman, the government is asked to
acquire a 234-acre property at 9747 Cameron Road, and that the property be included within the adjacent Ellison Provincial Park.
“With tourism an increasingly important anchor to the economy, preserving sandy beaches along Okanagan Lake is critical to draw visitors to the Okanagan and, as the population of the Okanagan grows, there is demand from local residents to access the lakeshore,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.
“Significant investments have already been made to mountain biking and hiking trails in Ellison Provincial Park as well as Predator Ridge Resort. The acquisition of the Chelsea Estate property would elevate Vernon’s reputation as a premier adventure destination by providing the ability to further expand the trail network.”
In terms of the environment, park status would ensure the protection of ponderosa pines and grasslands, as well as significant shoreline critical to the survival of aquatic species such as kokanee salmon. The property’s location along Okanagan Lake has also been part of the Syilx people for generations.
Currently, a petition campaign calls for the property to become a public asset and members of City of Vernon council have unanimously endorsed an expansion of Ellison Provincial Park.
“We are abundantly aware that there is a significant cost to acquiring land and then developing it into provincial park, but we ask, ‘What is the price if we do nothing, if we let this opportunity slip away?’ said Kempton.
“Just as the creation of Fintry and Kekuli Bay provincial parks in the last 30 years have contributed to the Okanagan’s economy and lifestyle, we believe strongly that the addition of the 234 acres to Ellison Provincial Park will provide a legacy for future generations.”
Richard Rolke, Communications Coordinator    
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce   
E:  P: 250.545.0771