Mayor hopeful about meat policies

Spallumcheen politicians focus on meat processing regulations at UBCM

Meetings on meat had a positive outcome at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Victoria.

Spallumcheen Mayor Janice Brown and her council attended six meetings during the week-long gathering that focused on meat processing regulations, and Brown believes that something positive will be in place this fall.

“We met with the minister of agriculture (Norm Letnick) and staff to help us out with the D and E licensing,” said Brown from Victoria on Friday, prior to returning home.

“They basically said it’s their No. 1 priority. It’s been the big buzz down here.”

Changes to the provincial regulations have devastated farmers in the North Okanagan and, in particular, the Spallumcheen region. One of the changes is the non-issuing of D and E meat inspection licenses in the North Okanagan so on-farm slaughtering can occur.

None have ever been issued in this region.

The number of North Okanagan producers has gone from 1,200 to 300 since 2007.

There was another piece of good news regarding agriculture.

A Spallumcheen motion created by Coun. Christine Fraser, that called for secondary dwellings to be allowed on farmland for farm help or for family members without having to dig a second well, received an honourable mention for a gold resolution.

“It passed, and it’s being changed in the new water act,” said Brown.

“We’re confident that now our local farmers can put up a house for help and not dig up another well. That came from a lot of lobbying.”

The Agriculture Land Commission also stated to Spallumcheen representatives that they are “not in the subdivision business,” and that they want to keep farmland as just that.

“They support development around the edge, as we do in our official community plan,” said Brown.

“That will be reassuring for the farmers. The ALC doesn’t want to chop up farmland.”