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Letter: Please make your voice heard

To The Editor:

We are in opposition to N.W. Mtn. Experience - File# 4405891 and Retallack - File# 4405893 proposed for the St. Mary Valley. Applications such as these are rushed through the system, with no careful consideration of the short or long term implications.

Both proposals fall into the no aerial traffic/ limited development zone defined by the 2007 Cranbrook West Recreation Management Strategy Plan. Government, with the participation of numerous stakeholders, created a written strategy to provide protection for wildlife, and wildlife habitat areas from excessive recreational usage. A guidance document that is considered to be policy.

The lands under consideration for tenure are public lands, for the use of "all," not just private interests. The Retallack proposal covers almost all untenured land in the St Mary Valley up to the end of St. Mary Lake.

One person, a company, or corporations should not be virtually "given" public land, consisting of thousands of acres, for the accumulation of personal profit. Tenure operators pay little for land usage, nothing for land taxes, and are allowed to sell their businesses - which includes all tenured land, at any time - for huge profit., with little accountability. No such luck for the ordinary person. They are land giveaways - no wonder they are being grabbed up!

Fly in/ fly out excursions would provide little in the way of tourism impact, as communities would be bypassed for the most part. Retallack sells 3 - 5 day "in house" packages - shuttle bus, to helicopter, to lodge and back again - with little time in between.

Tenure operators do not always make for good neighbors, discouraging public usage and competing businesses.

An indefinite moratorium should be established immediately for the St. Mary Valley, to avoid the user conflicts that have now become onerous in the over tenured West Kootenay area.

Back country is being sacrificed for consumerism. "Nature" has become the latest marketing tool for the selling of goods and services. Corporations partner specifically with companies such as this, in order to market their vast array of expensive outdoor products.

Wilderness areas have shrunk considerably, to the extent they are almost non-existent. We want animals to re-locate to the remoter regions, not escalate the problems we see in our towns and on highways everyday. Government needs to ensure existing wildlife habitat is protected and "public" land is kept "public," for present, and future, generations.

June 13, 2018, is the last day for public comment, please make your voice heard!

Christine Lohr Land Officer, Kootenay Boundary -  Christine.Lohr@govbc.ca

cc: Doug Donaldson, FLNRORD Minister - FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca

cc: Michelle Mungall - :michelle.mungallMLA@leg.bc.ca

Cheryl and Gordon Olsen, St. Mary Valley Residents