Central Okanagan seeks to renew air quality partnership with other Okanagan regional districts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Central Okanagan seeks to renew air quality partnership with other Okanagan regional districts

Only one airshed: The Central Okanagan Regional District would like to renew discussions with the Okanagan's other regional districts regarding air quality after a three region committee disbanded in 2011.
June 02, 2021 - 11:15 AM

The Central Okanagan Regional District wants to renew an old partnership between Okanagan regional districts.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board of directors has a request before it at this week’s board meeting to invite Central Okanagan Regional District board chair Gail Given to appear before the board to discuss Okanagan Valley air quality issues.

All three regional governments took part in an Air Quality Committee that was formed in 2005-2006 to introduce an information and education program with respect to the importance of air quality.

Air quality monitoring, dust control, wood chipping and wood stove exchange programs were developed and the committee was formalized with a memorandum of understanding in 2010.

However, the Regional District of North Okanagan withdrew funding in 2011, and the committee was discontinued.

A letter sent to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkmeen in mid-May by the Central Okanagan Regional District says “a lot has happened” since the committee disbanded in 2011, noting an increase in population of the Okanagan of 16.4 per cent that makes the Okanagan one of the fastest growing regions in Canada.

“We share an air shed that knows no boundaries between our respective regional districts. If one of our regions is experiencing poor air quality, it’s just a matter of time before our neighbouring regions feel the same effects,” RDCO Chair Gail Given wrote.

The RDCO is working with the City of Kelowna to oversee the region’s air quality initiatives. Following a recent staff presentation about the regional district’s air quality initiatives, the RDCO board wondered if there was a renewed appetite for the three regional districts to work cooperatively and collaborate on air shed initiatives in the future.

The RDCO chair expressed a willingness to meet with RDOS board members to discuss air quality at a future board meeting.

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