Growing frustration is forcing the Regional District of North Okanagan to get tough over meat processing.
Directors unanimously voted Wednesday to demand that the provincial government initiate class D and E slaughter licences so farm-gate sales can occur locally.
“We were told it would be resolved before Christmas and it hasn’t,” said director Mike Macnabb.
“Everyone is looking at it but nobody is doing anything. It’s a very simple process (for the government) to say yes or no.”
The number of local producers has gone from 1,200 to 300 since meat processing regulations came into force in 2007 and Macnabb is concerned more farmers may go out of business before any changes are made by the government.
“This has been studified to death for so long. I am not sure why the stall has taken place,” he said.
“Everyone is frustrated because agriculture is a huge economic driver in the North Okanagan.”
RDNO chairperson Patrick Nicol, vice-chairperson Rick Fairbairn, director Janice Brown and Spallumcheen Coun. Christine Fraser have been central in lobbying Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick for D and E licenses.
“We’ve heard no word directly from minister Letnick,” said Nicol.
As part of its efforts, RDNO has been encouraging residents to express their support for farm-gate sales.
“We’ve had many thoughtful letters that have been passed on to minister Letnick,” said Nicol.
A 500-name petition has also been collected to place pressure on the government.