Township finalizes finances

Spallumcheen residents aren’t being squeezed too hard by the taxman this year

Spallumcheen residents aren’t being squeezed too hard by the taxman this year.

The township recently adopted its financial plan, which includes a .83 per cent increase for 2015. For the average residential single-family home it works out to approximately $53.

“It’s a bit of a balancing act but I think we’re doing pretty well,” said Coun. Todd York.

The biggest challenge, said York, is making things last, specifically roads.

“That’s the thing that costs us the most.”

Water allocation leads to investigation

A Spallumcheen farmer eager to feed his crop has tapped into some additional water, meanwhile the request has officials probing the potential of a further source.

A 10.5 hectare farm below Stepping Stones has gained access to some additional water (which will cost $12,000) for newly planted fruit trees.

“Although there is a somewhat limited amount of water (because it is treated), we approved the allotment,” said Coun. Todd York.

“He has a modern irrigation system that uses less water,” added York.

“We’ve got to support agriculture.”

The request has Spallumcheen looking into the potential of accessing another source of water, rather than putting treated water on crops.

“There is an agricultural source of water at the end of Old Kamloops Road,” said York. “We’re going to investigate whether there’s some opportunity to get that across the highway.”

Seeds of agricultural plan spread

A regional effort to plant a streamlined agricultural plan is beginning to take root.

The Regional Agricultural Area Plan, initiated in 2013, has made its way into draft form to members for input.

“The intent of this plan is to provide an overview of the current regional food system in the North Okanagan, identify opportunities, and make recommendations that would help support a healthy, resilient and sustainable agricultural sector,” reads the RAAP.

It includes several priorities, such as protecting farmland and farmers, strengthening the local agricultural economy and managing clean, accessible and affordable water.

The Regional District of North Okanagan is looking for feedback by May 20.

“It seems to be pretty much identical to our agricultural plan and what we’re trying to achieve,” said Spallumcheen Coun. Todd York.

The RAAP could also serve as a forum for farmers, processors, distributors and retailers to sit down and discuss local agricultural issues.

“These meetings could occur two to three times a year to start during the late fall or early winter when producers are less busy and able to attend,” reads the plan, mentioning a North Okanagan Meet Your Maker event.

Outside of the RAAC, the formation of a North Okanagan Farmers’ Institute is another suggestion for farmers to connect.

On-farm water storage options are another aspect the RAAP looks at.