'Farmland is to be used for farming' Central Okanagan Regional District staff say - InfoNews

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'Farmland is to be used for farming' Central Okanagan Regional District staff say

Skaha Hills vineyard.
Image Credit: Skaha Hills
July 15, 2020 - 5:30 PM

Some of the Okanagan’s most picturesque stretches of agricultural land are being misused, according to a recent study from the Central Okanagan Regional District.

In a recent survey, the regional district found that the West Kelowna Wine Trail, the South East Kelowna Wine Trail and the community of Ellison were where agricultural land was most at risk from human activities.

The top issues in those locations include the deposition of fill, large structural footprints and production facilities; and storage of vehicles and equipment.

“The Central Okanagan has strong agricultural roots and this sector has been important in defining the region and its growth pattern,” Todd Cashin, director of community services, said in the report.

“With changes in population, pressures of development, increased climate impacts, and water pressures, these changes have raised more awareness of the importance of farmland.”

As that awareness has grown, alongside misuse, staff has worked towards comprehensive compliance and enforcement strategy that is aimed at consistency, effectiveness, and fairness throughout the Central Okanagan.

This Regional Agricultural Compliance and Enforcement Strategy will outline the region’s approach to its compliance goals, ranging from assisting property owners in understanding their obligations to comply with legislative requirements on farmland, and extends to monitoring compliance and performing inspection activities.

They will also be “communicating the message that farmland is to be used for farming.”

Farming is, after all, the heart of these areas.

In promo material for the West Kelowna Wine Trail, it’s described as having rolling hills of vineyards, scenic lake views and leisurely rural roads provide an idyllic backdrop for discovering local flavours one sip at a time.


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