There is no doubt that there as been a lot of discussion for many years about the Castle area. Through both the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan and various other forums.
But never once did this government or the previous one sit down with us and tell us, this is what you are getting, this is when you are getting it and this is what it is going to look like. Even now we have an announcement that we are getting two parks but please fill out a survey to tell us what you would like to see in the park. Good to have a consultation process but after the fact? I would have liked to have seen a survey open to the residents of this corner of the province asking them what they would like to see, even going has far has asking them if they were in favor of having a park.
The morning of Sept 4th I received a call from a friend asking me if I was going to Stone's Throw for the announcement. I had no idea so I called the municipal office expecting that somebody had missed informing us. Not the case, nobody knew so I headed down to Stone's Throw. I found it intriguing that every pro park group within 200 km was very aware of the announcement. I asked people how long they knew? some told me for a week. Another person said to me it was all over Facebook, well normally local governments are informed especially when we are all going to be partners in a new imitative.
After the announcement I approached one of the minister's assistants and asked why we were not informed, I was told that they wanted to keep it low key. Kind of surprising response especially when it took me ten minutes to find a parking space, having to avoid the "CTV" and "CBC" vehicles parked on main street. The crowd in Stone's Throw was large they were packed in like sardines. I told Minister Phillips assistant if you had given us some notice, we would have advertised on our website and they could have used the Elks Hall, would have been much more comfortable for everybody.
How will this park affect us in the Crowsnest Pass? Who knows for sure it will be a while before any of us know what the park will really be. When asked if there were funds available to promote tourism and the other economic spin offs that come with this type of venture, the minister reminded us of the dire financial situation at hand in this province right now. (Which I believe was code for "No").
One thing that is clear, logging and surface disturbance of any kind is ended. Just as many people will tell me that is bad as will tell me that is good. Personally I believe in responsible use of our resources where would our community be without the coal mines, our neighbors without the gas plant.
Will this park be accessible to hunting, fishing, camping, OHV use ten years from now? Who knows. Will we have a thriving economy based on tourism creating lots of good paying jobs for young families to stay here? I'm going to be optimistic and say sure hope so.