At the Similkameen Country Development Association (SCDA)’s election forum, the candidates looking to win a seat as the Regional District’s Cawston and Lower Similkameen director were invited to speak.
George Bush and Joe Domijan are vying for the role. They introduced themselves before fielding a question from a member of the public who was concerned with what she saw as a lack of vision for the area, how they would keep the community feeling rural and how they would balance that with growth.
Domijan spoke first, speaking to the need to develop amenities for families in the face of one of the oldest demographics in the South Okanagan Similkameen.
“If we don’t get an infusion of young people to buy the small family farms, start small business, to provide these economic drivers the community needs then we aren’t going to have much of a community,” he said. “We need to retain families and attract new ones.”
Bush spoke to how the area has changed over the years, noting the difficulty that some orchards face with competing prices against American imports, and how the future of the community would be bringing in water and sewer systems to support necessary growth.
“The area has grown quite a bit, and the farms are doing well, especially the organic farms,” said Bush. “The other problem is the big wine corporations taking over our farmlands but I think the provincial government likes the tax money they get, and I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it.”
“The other thing we really need is daycare, that’s really lacking not just here but in Keremeos and Olalla too. And we’re working on these things.”
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