Keremeos hopes to acquire control of popular transient farmworker campground - InfoNews

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Keremeos hopes to acquire control of popular transient farmworker campground

The Village of Keremeos hopes a License of Occupation over a piece of land frequented by transient farmworkers every summer will help control environmental damage to the site.
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March 14, 2018 - 3:30 PM

KEREMEOS - It’s been an ongoing topic of discussion in the Village of Keremeos, but hopes are high something may soon be done to control use of a piece of Similkameen riverbed adjacent the community.

Keremeos mayor Manfred Bauer says the village has applied to the Crown for a License of Occupation for tenure of a piece of Similkameen River floodplain just east of the community.

The site has been a popular camping spot for transient farm workers for years starting in the spring and lasting until late fall. Many of them walk away leaving garbage, building materials and open holes containing human waste.

Bauer says the village and volunteers remove tonnes of garbage annually from the site each fall, including discarded camping materials, and makeshift building structures.

The site is also home to several blue-listed species at risk.

“We have the complete support of the regional district and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. The idea is not to completely prohibit access, but we want to place it under our park bylaw that allows normal park use, but no fires, camping or smoking,” he says, noting the band also has concerns about cultural and archaeological significance of the riverbed.

Bauer says problems with transient use go back beyond 2005, when he was first elected to council.

“It’s been an ongoing situation, to the point where the province has realized there has been some serious damage done every year to the habitat, and something needs to be done,” he says.

The area would be subject to the village’s conservation park bylaws, which are enforceable by police, conservation and bylaw officers.

Bauer says if the application is successful signs will be erected to define the area and warning of high water risks in the area.

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