RDOS conservation fund hanging in the balance

Formation of a sub-regional conservation fund is hanging in the balance as Penticton and Osoyoos directors were asked to reconsider

The formation of a sub-regional conservation fund is hanging in the balance as Penticton and Osoyoos directors were asked to reconsider the matter with their respective councils.

If passed, the fund would cost the average homeowner $10 annually, raising about $450,000 each year for a variety of projects to be completed throughout the South Okanagan.

The idea to start a regional fund for conservation projects throughout the South Okanagan surfaced at the end of April when a motion to establish the fund was passed at the planning and development committee of the RDOS.

At the April 28 meeting directors from Penticton, Summerland, Oliver, Osoyoos and areas A, C, D, E, and F voted in support of establishing the fund.

The communities in the Similkameen (Princeton, Keremeos, Area H, B, and G) are not part of this phase of the fund but might be included at a later date.

At the RDOS meeting last week as more details emerged of how the fund would work, Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said his council voted against joining the fund in a 4 to 3 vote, instead deciding to create their own.

Osoyoos Mayor Suzan McKortoff said her council decided they would not join until they had held formal consultation with their community to decide if they wanted to join, go it alone or both.

“We would prefer to have public consultation,” she said adding she didn’t think that could happen until September at the earliest. “Our name is off at this time,” she said.

With the loss of Penticton which represents about 42 per cent of the funding, other director’s decided to defer the vote on the creation of the fund until Penticton directors’ could consult with their council again, hoping there might be a change of mind.

Andre Martin, Penticton councillor, who voted against the sub-regional fund said he wasn’t against a conservation fund but that he wanted to see the entire region join.

He specifically noted the absence of the Similkameen communities in the fund.

“The issue is none of the Similkameen directors are in this,” he said. “At the end of the day, if we all had our own conservation funds, I don’t think that’s a bad thing for the environment.”

Michael Brydon, Area F director, who proposed the conservation fund said the Similkameen wasn’t considered for this phase of the fund as it is in a different water basin, but ideally it will be part of the long-term vision.

Summerland Mayor Peter Waterman said his council voted unanimously in favour of the fund and he hoped the other directors would come on board.

If created, the fund would be managed by the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program and has the potential to raise about $2.2 million in its initial five years. The money raised could be leveraged to obtain a total of $4.5 million including funding from private donors or senior levels of government.

Directors will vote again on the issue of creating a sub-regional conservation fund at the July 7 meeting.

Just Posted

The City of Penticton is beginning plans to revitalize its north entrance on Highway 97. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton reviewing ideas on how to make the city’s north gateway more vibrant

The city has plans to redevelop the area into a welcoming and attractive entrance

A portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail near Naramata will be closed temporarily for upgrade work, including paving. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Upgrades plannned for trail near Naramata

Surface improvement work will mean temporary trail closure

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Skaha Bluffs climbing spots. (Monique Tamminga)
New parking lot and picnic area coming to Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

The city will turn the access point at Crow Place into a parking and picnic area

Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff shows a drip line used efficiently in a local vineyard. Most of the Okanagan is experiencing tinder dry conditions. (YouTube/Screenshot)
Extremely dry spring brings water shortage worries to the South Okanagan

The Okanagan has the least amount of water available per person and highest water usage in Canada

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

The location of the vehicle incident near Chase that currently has Highway 1 closed in both directions, according to DriveBC. (Black Press staff)
Hwy 1 closed in both directions east of Chase due to vehicle incident

Detour is in effect and drivers are encouraged to reroute to Highway 97 or Highway 97B

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

The suspect reportedly assaulted a security guard and robbed him. The incident happened at a Kelowna hotel. (Contributed)

Most Read