Left: Map shows the boundaries for a proposed Geopark for the North Thompson Valley. It would extend from south of Barriere to north of Blue River, including Wells Gray Park. Possibly Valemount and part of the Robson Valley would be included as well. TNRD graphic

TNRD to use reverse petition for Geopark proposal

If 10 per cent say they are opposed to the proposal, then it likely will not go ahead

By Keith McNeill

Are you in favor of Thompson-Nicola Regional District spending tax dollars to develop a Geopark for the North Thompson Valley – or more precisely, are you opposed?

That will be the gist of an alternative approval process the TNRD will carry out this summer, with a deadline of Sept. 5 at 2 p.m.

If a total of 657 eligible electors from the proposed service area indicate that they are opposed to the proposal, then it will not go ahead unless the regional district decides to hold a referendum.

The number 657 is 10 per cent of the number of eligible electors believed to be within the service area, which includes Thompson Headwaters (Area B), Wells Gray Country (Area A), District of Clearwater, Lower North Thompson (Area O) and District of Barriere.

Possibly Valemount and a portion of the Fraser-Fort George Regional District will participate at a later date.

Eligible electors can indicate their opposition by submitting an elector response form to the TNRD’s corporate officer by mail or in person before the deadline (faxed or emailed submissions will not be accepted.

According to a draft information folder from the TNRD, a Geopark would be a much more flexible designation than a World Heritage designation, which is proposed for Wells Gray Provincial Park alone.

A Geopark would allow branding and marketing to bring visitors and economic growth to the area without imposing additional restrictions on land or resource use.