Hundreds rallied in Red Deer Thursday night calling for the proposed Bighorn Park project consultation process to ‘start over.’ Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Hundreds rally against Bighorn Park proposal in Red Deer

Rally calls for Bighorn Park consultation to start over

Chants of ‘start it over’ and voices on loudspeakers could be heard coming from the parking lot outside the Servus Arena Thursday night.

Hundreds of Central Albertans rallied in Red Deer demanding the proposed Bighorn Park project process start over.

The protesters took issue with a wide range of topics related to the proposed $40-million provincial park and the government getting involved in protecting the land.

READ MORE: Rally opposing Bighorn Park proposal to take place in Red Deer tomorrow

Bentley-resident Ryan Brown, who helped organize the rally, said he thinks the biggest problem with the proposal is that the details are wrong.

“The details are very vague and open to interpretation and there is a lot of them for future consideration,” he said.

“When the only thing we have to go off of is the track record of the government dealing with the land-use issues and proposals – then that is just not satisfactory to anyone in the area or anyone that uses the backcountry.”

Garett Schmidt, director of Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association, was one of the speakers at the event. He said the number of people who oppose the Bighorn Park project is not being considered.

twitter.com

“We have almost every single municipality, town, country, First Nations, recreational groups, and those that live off that landscape, including outfitters and guides and trappers. Every one of them is opposed – not to the preservation of our landscape – but to this process, and the way you all are being treated,” he said.

“That’s the really big thing. You guys are being vilified because you simply disagree and that’s completely unacceptable in today’s society.”

READ MORE: Environment Minister clarifies misconceptions in Bighorn proposal

Janice Lee from Rocky Mountain House attended the rally on horseback. She said she feels the current government is overlooking the years of work already done on protecting the area.

“Instead of continuing on with the plan that they have been ironing out for 15 years, a new person comes in and just decides that this is the way it is going to be and we’re not going to consult and we’re going to overlook how the people feel about it and just push through with what they want,” she said.

“It’s not that people don’t want to protect the headwaters and don’t want to protect the backcountry, they just don’t want it governed so strictly.”

The Alberta government previously called off in-person sessions in favour of telephone town halls after officials alleged they were verbally harassed.

But on Tuesday the government 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Heartland Youth Centre has named the winners in this year’s fundraising raffle

Nan Gardner has won the grand prize of the 2020 GMC Terrain

Town of Stettler sports fields close for improvements

The Turf Revitalization Plan has been expedited from the initial five-year strategy

Still no confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer, central zone

There are 15 new confirmed cases were in Alberta, the province said Thursday

It’s back to business at Stettler’s Superfluity

This year also marks organization’s 40th anniversary

Alberta RCMP remind citizens to create a nightly #9PMRoutine

‘We are using #9PMRoutine because of its popularity across the globe.’

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Alberta registrar reverses rejection, man gets to have FREE AB licence plate

Alberta registrar reverses rejection, man gets to have FREE AB licence plate

Alberta imposing steep penalties but no charges on first-time impaired drivers

Alberta imposing steep penalties but no charges on first-time impaired drivers

Most Read