On July 7th 2016, the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board gave third reading to the service bylaw to establish a Conservation Fund for the South Okanagan region. This is a significant step in the establishment of the fund. The bylaw is now at the Inspector of Municipalities for approval, then it will come back to the RDOS Board for adoption, and out for public assent later this fall. The RDOS has chosen to undertake an Alternate Approval Process for public assent which is a cost effective alternative to a stand-alone referendum.
If fully adopted, the South Okanagan Conservation Fund will requisition $10 on average, per household, per year, in the City of Penticton, District of Summerland, Town of Oliver, and the Electoral Areas of A, C, D, E and F. Potentially $450,000 could be raised each year to support conservation efforts in the South Okanagan, and conservation organizations can apply each year for funding to support local conservation work. SOSCP Program Manager Bryn White is overjoyed by the decision to take the bylaw to third reading. “The ability for these monies to leverage resources and funds from outside the region is significant. The benefits locally will be immediate,” White says referencing the positive social, environmental and economic impacts seen in the east and west Kootenays after funds there were established in 2008 and 2014.
Read more about the proposed Conservation Fund at http://www.soscp.org/funding-conservation/.