MONTAGUE — A community group hoping to save Buffalo Land provincial park is preparing to protest the private sale of the 100-acre property by selling public memberships in a bid to take over the operation.
Jonathan Tsamantanis is leading the charge to save the provincial park near here and is calling for a community meeting to be held Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at Reds Corner.
“The current government is contemplating conveying the property of the Buffalo park to someone else,’’ he said. “We (view) the park as an integral part of our community that has a strong tourism asset and has been underutilized.”
Tsamantanis, who spearheaded a petition of thousands of names in support of the Milltown Cross property, said the group has attempted to meet with local MLA Allen Roach and Tourism Minister Robert Henderson to little avail.
“We wanted them to look at the proposal from the community but, to our dismay, we were told they were not interested and almost done negotiating a proposal with an unsolicited source.”
The buffalo park has been around since the early 1970s and the two initial animals were a gift from the province of Alberta. The herd is now about 30 animals and costs about $30,000 a year in upkeep.
Tsamantanis said the purpose of the meeting is to demonstrate a strong community interest in the park.
“We are not looking for a back room deal done on our public park and we feel this should be discussed openly and honestly. The community is concerned and it’s not a small minority.”
Friends of Buffalo Land has a working proposal to take over the operation and members say the government should not ignore its submission.
The group is in the process of incorporating and will be selling paid memberships by the end of the week.
The government is currently considering proposals from private interests who may or may not keep the park operating.