The Regional District of North Okanagan will sell the remaining section of the BX Ranchlands off East Vernon Road to its Electoral Areas B (BX-Swan Lake) and C (BX-Silver Star).
The BX Ranchlands is a large parcel of undeveloped green space and selling it to the electoral areas effectively “keeps the land in public hands and allows for the opportunity to explore agricultural and educational opportunities,” the RDNO said in a release.
The regional district purchased the land in 2016 to create a perimeter trail through a portion of land, and talked about subdividing and selling the remaining portion.
“The BX Ranchlands are historically significant for our area. You can’t create more green space, but you can conserve that which is undeveloped, and for this exact reason, we have worked to retain this property in public hands for the benefit of our communities,” said Area B director Bob Fleming. “We thank our partners, the City of Vernon and the District of Coldstream, for their cooperation in allowing us to conserve this amazing property for the benefit of the entire community and, really, the whole region.”
The 137-acre parcel is within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), meaning that it could be used as an agricultural park or a space for farming education. With the land now owned by the two electoral areas, discussions can begin on how the space can be used.
“The public support for retaining the BX Ranchlands has been a driving force for our efforts to secure the land for our community,” said Amanda Shatzko, Area C director. “We will continue to consult with residents and collaborative organizations as we plan the future of a regionally significant park.”
The RDNO is working with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Vancouver’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University to explore the development and implementation of a regional agriculture and food system education facility and programming on the BX Ranchlands property.
The intent is not to have a bricks-and-mortar facility but rather to use the land for hands-on agricultural learning.
The next step is to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the property for this program.