S. Okanagan orchards face major losses: CBC

Fruit growers in the southern Okanagan Valley of British Columbia are expecting over $5 million in insurance payouts after “significant” losses to a harsh growing season, CBC reported Thursday.

Officials with the province told CBC that about 100 growers in the Osoyoos area were hit with heavy frost in April, then with hail and storms in July that wiped out much of what remained.

Spring frosts hit blossoms in other parts of the heavily-irrigated region also, CBC said.

The broadcaster quoted Ken Ziebart, claims monitor for the provincial ag ministry, as saying the province is still calculating total losses but it estimates the insurance payouts, at over $5 million, will be among the largest total annual payouts for the region in recent years.

Consulting on cottages

In related news, the province on Tuesday said it will defer making a decision on allowing recreational lot sales in the Okanagan reservoir lakes area until it can consult with local councils and First Nations and give communities the chance to conduct hydrology studies.

Those hydrology studies are expected to help determine future storage needs and capacity, and are expected to take about two years to complete, the province said in a release Tuesday. During this two-year period critical information will be compiled on the state of the water sources in the Okanagan.

“During the next two years the province will continue to work with local elected officials and First Nations to ensure any new information about the potential impact sales may have on water quality, and the ability to expand the reservoirs, is reviewed,” the province wrote.

“The province is committed to making an informed, balanced decision regarding the possible sale of recreational properties lying adjacent to reservoirs in the Okanagan watershed.”

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