A rally opposing the Bighorn Provincial Park proposal is taking place in Red Deer tomorrow.
Organized by Rally Canada, Thursday’s event is taking place at the Servus Arena at 4725-43rd St. starting at 6:30 p.m.
While the event Facebook page says the rally opposes the proposed $40-million provincial park, organizer Tim Cameron said the goal is to get people involved in the process and ask questions about why things have gone the way they have gone.
The biggest issue, he said, is what he considers to be a lack of consultation with stakeholders.
“There’s been just about a complete and total lack of consultation with every stakeholder group – whether that is First Nation, Metis. We’ve got landowners bordering the public land use zone that haven’t been consulted,” he said. “We’ve got hunting groups, you name it. It’s right across the board.”
He added, “The lack of consultation is a huge concern but adding any uncertainty to any industry at this stage in the game, especially the oil and gas industry, is disastrous and we are seeing those results of that.”
Cameron, who lives in Drayton Valley, also raised concerns about how the project might affect oil and gas exploration. He has heard from several small oil companies that have said they are not investing in Alberta until after the upcoming provincial elections, he said.
He said the telephone town halls, which took place mid-January, were not sufficient, adding that many residents felt they were not allowed to ask certain questions or express opposition to the proposal.
While the Alberta government previously called off in-person sessions, on Tuesday it announced four public information sessions to be held on the proposal.
The session in Red Deer is taking place Sunday, Feb. 3rd at Westerner Park from 1 to 4 p.m. Another session is in Sundre on Feb. 4th from 4 to 7 p.m. Two other sessions are planned for Drayton Valley and Edmonton on Feb. 1st and 2nd.
The rally page on Facebook for Thursday calls for “peaceful, respectful and civil engagement.” While yellow vest protesters may be involved, it asks them to leave their vests at home to ‘not dilute’ the message.