The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has jumped on board a push to buy a 234-acre property and add it to Ellison Provincial Park.

The chamber is asking the provincial government to buy the Chelsea Estate property at 9747 Cameron Rd. A petition drive is underway in favour of the idea and Vernon council has also endorsed park expansion.

“With tourism an increasingly important anchor to the economy, preserving sandy beaches along Okanagan Lake is critical to draw visitors to the Okanagan and, as the population of the Okanagan grows, there is demand from local residents to access the lakeshore,” said Krystin Kempton, chamber president, in a news release.

“Significant investments have already been made to mountain biking and hiking trails in Ellison Provincial Park as well as Predator Ridge Resort. The acquisition of the Chelsea Estate property would elevate Vernon’s reputation as a premier adventure destination by providing the ability to further expand the trail network," she said.

Park status would ensure the protection of ponderosa pines and grasslands, as well as significant shoreline, the chamber said.

“We are abundantly aware that there is a significant cost to acquiring land and then developing it into provincial park, but we ask, ‘What is the price if we do nothing, if we let this opportunity slip away?’ said Kempton.