Balancing the need for development and protecting lifestyle continues to be a regional focus.
The Regional District of North Okanagan has provided an update on its growth strategy, which was initiated in 2011.
“It’s one of the most important parts of the regional district,” said Mike Macnabb, director.
“It shows direction and where we can make improvements as a region. It holds a mirror up to us and it shows the good stuff and the not so good stuff.”
One of the focuses of the strategy is urban/rural containment.
“Most of our new growth is taking place in urban areas with community water and sewer.”
The growth strategy is also focused on supporting farming, and there has been an increase in the agricultural land base.
“Farm diversity is up,” said Marnie Skobalski, planner.
“The range of farm commodities being produced is on the rise.”
In terms of economic development, there are ongoing challenges.
“The region is still recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis,” said Skobalski, adding that demographics are also an issue.
“Our population is aging and retiring and out of the workforce.”
However, Skobalski says there are positive factors with the economy, including an increase in building permits.
There are about 200 hectares of vacant industrial land in the North Okanagan.
“Some of that land is not serviced so we have some challenges,” said Skobalski.
In response, the electoral areas, the Okanagan Indian Band and Spallumcheen are investigating a possible sewer service for the Swan Lake corridor.
The growth strategy also highlights that there are 40 services shared among the North Okanagan’s various jurisdictions.
“It demonstrates a positive level of co-operation among our communities,” said Skobalski.