Agricultural talks grow at UBCM

Most of Okanagan represented in agricultural discussions

Most of the Okanagan, including Coldstream and Spallumcheen, were represented as a discussion on agriculture was harvested at UBCM last week.

During the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, the two local jurisdictions were invited to discuss agricultural issues in communities.

“Everything from helicopters drying cherries to spraying,” said Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick, of the topics touched on. “Lake Country even has problems with helicopters dropping tourists off at wineries.”

Summerland, Peachland, Armstrong, Grand Forks, Enderby and Osoyoos also got in on the discussion with Ministry representatives.

“Farming in some cases is still very marginal and in other cases it’s worth millions of dollars,” said Garlick, whose community includes both classes of farms.

Due to the shift in farming practices, Garlick urged the ministry to take another look at the Farm Act.

“To be fair to both sides, the producers and the residents…we need to be looking at things again.

Since the public is well aware, and often impacted, by the change in farming practices, the ministry is encouraged to do more.

“They said they’ll get back to us,” said Garlick.

One issue he would like to see is different classes of agriculture – just as there is both light and heavy classes for industrial.

“Could this be considered in agriculture?” Garlick questioned, adding that heavy industry brings in higher tax dollars, therefore perhaps a heavy agriculture class could also be taxed at a greater rate.