Revived air quality program in South Okanagan-Similkameen up for discussion

PENTICTON - A Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen program that was axed in 2010 could come before the board of directors for discussion once again.

Between 2006-2010, the regional district had an inter-regional committee that was meeting regularly between the RDOS, the Central Okanagan Regional District and the North Okanagan Regional District. The RDOS also had an air quality coordinator and an educational program that encouraged property owners and agriculturalists to look at wood chipping as an alternative to burning. Programs were also run to encourage the replacement of inefficient wood stoves.

The Central Okanagan is the only regional district in the valley continuing with an air quality program today, sustained by an annual budget of $150,000 annually. The feasibility of reviving an inter-regional program was recently raised at a meeting held between the regional districts. The Central Okanagan Regional District sees the issue of air quality as a valley wide one, noting air can’t be controlled between regional district boundaries.

It was suggested by RDOS regional district Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell in an administrative report at a recent board meeting if any directors are interested in air quality as an issue, it could be discussed further at a Strategic Planning Workshop on Oct. 29.

Alternatively, he suggested the Central Okanagan Regional District be notified if there is no interest in pursuing the issue. Depending on board response, the matter could come up for further discussion at the Strategic Planning Workshop next week.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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