Word that the BX Ranchlands in Vernon has been purchased by the Regional District of North Okanagan’s electoral areas that serve the ranchlands is welcome news to the BX Swan Lake Community Association.
The RDNO said in late January that electoral Areas B (BX-Swan Lake) and C (BX-Silver Star) had purchased the large parcel of undeveloped green space.
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 RDNO is working with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Vancouver’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) to explore the development and implementation of a regional agriculture and food system education facility and programming on the BX Ranchlands property.
“We are convinced this property will be a huge asset for the entire North Okanagan community for many years to come,” said Paul Jeffry Williamson, president of the BX Swan Lake Community Association and chairperson of the BX Ranch Land Taskforce. “We look forward to the KPU study and the community engagement planning.”
The intent, said the RDNO, is not to have a bricks-and-mortar facility but rather to use the land for hands-on agricultural learning.
Area B director Bob Fleming said the BX Ranchlands are “historically significant” for the North Okanagan. Area C director Amanda Shatzko said public support for retaining the BX Ranchlands has been a driving force to secure the land for the community.”
“We thank the partners, City of Vernon and District of Coldstream, for their patience and cooperation. They will definitely share in this vision and be a strong part of the planning process,” said Williamson. “We also recognize Amanda Shatzko and Bob Fleming for their incredible tenacity and patience while they worked with their GVAC partners over the last few years.”
The next step is to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the property for the KPU program.