Buffalo movement gaining momentum

Geordie Carragher
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Jonathan Tsamantanis is leading the charge to save the Buffalo Land provincial park.

POOLES CORNER — A community group lobbying to save a Kings County buffalo herd is expressing skepticism about assurances from the province that it is nearing a deal with an interested buyer which will leave the park and herd intact.

Since an initial pair of buffalo came to Prince Edward Island as a gift from Alberta in 1973, a herd has inhabited the Buffaloland Provincial Park, a 100-acre property in Milltown Cross.

In May, the P.E.I. government announced it was seeking proposals from people looking to take over the park, which it said costs taxpayers more than  $15,000 annually.

In response, a community group called Save Our Buffalo has worked to raise awareness in an effort to save the herd.

Their Facebook group has over 3,200 members, while an online petition has an additional 390 signatures.

They are also planning to sell memberships to the park in order to take over the operation.

Monday, the group held a meeting at Reds Corner to demonstrate community support in saving the park.

The meeting addressed the group’s skepticism of the government, said Jonathon Tsamantanis, who has worked to spearhead the campaign.

“We discussed why the government is telling us that everything is going to be fine with the park but will not reveal who they’re negotiating with or how this person will recoup their costs.”

Among those in attendance were Innovation Minister Allen Roach, Belfast-Murray River MLA Charlie McGeoghegan, Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward, NDP Leader Mike Redmond, former Island Party leader Billy Cann and Charlottetown city councillor Mitchell Tweel.

The group says it was skeptical when Roach told them there was a group willing to pay the full cost of the park and leave it as is, Tsamantanis said.

“We asked Mr. Roach to please ask (Tourism Minister Robert) Henderson to reconsider and look at the community’s proposal. We have reservations about trusting them.”

The group is also looking at partnering with the Harvey Moore Wildlife Centre to further their cause since both groups have similar goals.

The group will continue to push their proposal to government, Tsamantanis said.

“Even if the government conveys this to another entity other than the community, we will be there to monitor and make sure everything happens as they said it would.”

Organizations: Island Party, Harvey Moore Wildlife Centre

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Kings, Alberta Buffaloland Provincial Park Buffalo Charlottetown

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  • Darcie Lanthier
    November 23, 2012 - 11:01

    When did we decide to start selling off Provincial Parks? Are they all for sale? If this one is being sold because it costs $15,000 to operate, is there some expectation that Provincial Parks operate at a profit? Are the ones that don't make money up for grabs? If all Provincial Parks are available for purchase by secret negotiation, I would like one too!

  • tired of the BS
    November 23, 2012 - 09:13

    'trust our Government" those words are laughable

  • Bean Can
    November 22, 2012 - 20:02

    Members on a Facebook page mean absolutely nothing. I was added to the group three times without my consent. It does not indicate any commitment to the cause.

    • Cindy
      November 23, 2012 - 11:29

      Unfortunately I have to agree with you. People get "invited" to join these FB groups and once you have a status of "invite" it increases the number of so called members. As an open group, you can go through and count the numbers of people with such a status. However, on the other side, people do have the ability to remove themselves, as you have done.

    • Jamie MacKay
      November 23, 2012 - 15:26

      Same thing happened to me. I'm thinking that a good portion of the members don't even know they're in the group. This pretty much kills any credibility Mr. Tsamantanis may have had. When I looked at the group, all I saw was a sounding board for political hacks like Billy Cann. Just another spot for him to spew his disgruntled ramblings.

  • richard
    November 22, 2012 - 19:27

    There is something wrong with this picture, --- why would the GOV. SUDDENLY be unable to find the small amount needed to operate this property? Me thinks 'somebody' told them they wanted to buy it in due time, - so Henderson found an excuse to get rid of it. So the whole scheme continued, and lo and behold a byer came forward. True to form the Gov. started in secret to `negotiate`with some nameless faceless person for an secret amount and conditions. It must be weird for Mrrs. Roack & Mcgougehan to sit there and not be able to do a darn thing for their own supporters and neighbors and friends, - weird indeed, while knowing something is going on that is no right. Secretcy and lying goes hand in hand. I never saw a government that so works against the very people that elected them.

  • not that much
    November 22, 2012 - 16:48

    15000,geez,that's only about 75 hours of work for our "ONLY SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE." whoops i mean 75 hours of putting in for work.At 200 bucks an hour she could cut back on some of her precious time.200 bucks an hour,really who's worth that much money!!!!!

  • tim tonkin
    November 22, 2012 - 13:24

    My jesas it is pitiful they can't keep a few bison. This government is making the Binn's crew look like John A. MacDonald . They are pitiful just pitiful!

    • George Jordan
      November 22, 2012 - 14:56

      i don't want any new schemes for the buffalo, just keep the status quo...it should never be tampered with...the special buffalo were a special gift from Alberta to Dr Lorne Bonnell, then minister of tourism, and ALL PEISLANDERS... the ghiz gang is dishonouring Dr Bonnell by their silliness & lack of social graces...if the "ghiz gang" want to cut something, start with the obscene mis-spending of taxpayers dollars by ghiz and his cabinet gang, especially the unethical/immoral spending of the minister of fisheries...