EDITORIAL: Keep BX Ranch public

The Regional District of North Okanagan’s plans to sell much of the land is questionable as park is needed for the future

Greater Vernon’s population is growing and will continue to increase in the decades to come.

As a result, it’s vital that local governments prepare in advance and ensure that services are in place to meet the demand, whether it’s water, sewer or roads. Added to this list is recreational amenities.

That’s why the Regional District of North Okanagan needs to reconsider its plan to sell off 137 acres of the BX Ranch, which was purchased as part of a 166-acre parcel in 2016 for $2.3 million.

The prospect of only preserving 36 acres for park hasn’t gone over well with some residents.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to retain a historically significant green space as an agricultural park,” said Paul Williamson, with a committee formed by the BX-Swan Lake Community Association to lobby to retain the land as public.

“This piece of property is adjacent to Vernon’s East Hill neighbourhood which has one of the highest population densities in the North Okanagan and is currently under served with parks.”

Now there’s a difference of opinion between the BX directors and their Vernon counterparts over the process leading up to the purchase, but none of that rhetoric actually matters. At the end of the day, the decision to sell the 137 acres is questionable.

The last piece of the historic BX Ranch is large and easily accessible and will benefit future generations. It must remain in public hands.