The Regional District has been asking people what their connection to the region is and why this place is important to them. There were several public consultations already, but that was just the first round of public engagement. However if you didn’t hear about it (many didn’t) and still want to add your input, you can go to the RDOS web site and fill out the questionnaire on-line.
The approach that is being taken is a little different from what one might expect. They put it like this:
The Strategic Plan will identify important themes in the history of the Okanagan – Similkameen and, through public consultation, identify the heritage values and historic places that are important to the community. Based on these values, the Plan will outline the vision, goals and direction for the conservation and development of the region’s heritage resources, for the benefit of all communities in the region.
These are lofty goals indeed. Whether the public input will offer sufficiently rich data to be really meaningful to this perspective remains to be seen. Most people seem to understand the value of physical history and historic sites, but are less clear on sociology as it pertains to history.
There is a preliminary report “Regional Heritage Strategic Plan for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen”. This already contains the basics, although there are a considerable number of factual errors. Some of them quite significant. Hopefully the researchers will take the time to consult with those who know the history of the area so that these errors don’t get carried forward. In any case, the intersection of academic study and the society under view is not always easy to pin down. As someone who wrote to us said:
My overall view is that it is way too deep and complex for the average person. There were parts of it I didn’t understand at all. Throughout the booklet there are orange sidebar blocks that ask specific questions. The reader is invited to give feedback on those questions to “help shape the forthcoming community consultation process, and help refine this Heritage Strategic Plan study”. An example of two of these sidebar blocks are: “Why is the theme of indigenous ingenuity so important to the heritage of Okanagan-Similkameen? What elements of this theme have not been addressed here?” and “what is the significance of regional governance to the heritage of Okanagan-Similkameen?” I found those questions too deep for my simple mind to wrap around. In fact, I felt like I was answering exam questions in school.
Hopefully we can all agree that paying attention to our heritage is important. It follows that it is a good idea to make some policy and set a course for future actions. You can read more about this project on the RDOS web site. §