Plans for a horse college in the North Okanagan can be viewed at a public meeting Sept. 11, at Squires Four at 7 p.m. (Conceptual image)

Land sought for North Okanagan horse college

Monashee Valley Agri Park Society proposing large facility for region

An equine centre is hoping to rope in a large chunk of North Okanagan land.

The Monashee Valley Agri Park Society is seeking more than 10 hectares of land to construct a horse college.

The society is interested in leasing anywhere that would suit the facility, including Okanagan Indian Band lands.

The proposal will be available to the public at an information session on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. at Squires Four Pub.

Society founder Malcolm Lynn says the provincial and federal government will contribute $5.5 million for the project. The provincial government already contributed $10,000 for the society’s business plan. And construction could commence shortly.

“As soon as we have the commitment for a 10-hectare lease,” Lynn said.

The society has already spent nearly four years trying to establish an equine college in Merritt, which had the support but not the land

The Osoyoos Indian Band has also shown interest in the project.

“That’s where we’re going next if we can’t get it here,” Lynn said.

The proposal is for an all-wood structure and would include a swimming pool for the horses, which would help pay for the school.

“People come from all over Canada to swim their horses,” Lynn said.

Despite the recent demolition of Vernon’s Kin Racetrack, Lynn says horse racing and racetracks are booming—he points to two in Alberta which are doing well.

A retired horse racer, Lynn is eager to bring an equine college to the region to introduce youth to the important and therapeutic work of looking after a horse, and remove them from their phones.

“A horse is an everyday responsibility and it teaches kids responsibility.”

Lynn was in the horse industry for 50 years, during which the horses took him all over North America.

“There are so many jobs in the horse industry, people don’t realize it,” Lynn said, as the college development itself would employ approximately 100 people.

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