Kelowna agriculture committee gets industry specific representatives

As part of its plan to revamp city committees, Kelowna council will change the make-up of its agricultural advisory committee so that five specific areas of the industry are represented.

Instead of the current seven, at-large committee members, council voted Monday to have five of them represent the following commodity groups:

• greenhouse and nursery products

• wine/grapes

• tree fruits

• livestock/animal husbandry

• agricultural processing/distribution (including farm retail sales

In addition to the five specific representatives, the committee will also include two members from the agricultural community at-large.

Two alternates will also be selected at-large agricultural community, according to the committee's new terms of reference.

The city has already received 16 applications to sit on the committee and the recommended applicant names will be presented to council next week..

Coun. Robert Hobson said it's important the applicants be vetted by city staff to make sure there are no "other agendas" that would conflict with the committee's terms of reference.

The city says the changes are being made to better represent the agricultural community here, given that 57 per cent of the Kelowna's 21,700 hectare land base is currently zone agricultural and agriculture is an important part of the local economy.

The agricultural advisory committee has been in existence since 1993 and makes recommendations to council about agriculture-related issues and land use.

Following his election in November, Mayor Walter Gray announced the city would review all its committees, with an eye to eliminating some and changing others.

A few weeks ago it announced it was dumping the city's advisory planning commission and the women's committee and would look at changing the terms of reference of other committees.

And Kelowna's move to take a sharper look at its committees appears to be spreading.

With five members of city council on the Central Okanagan Regional District board,  CORD  has followed Kelowna's lead and has eliminated one of its two  local area advisory planning commissions. The Central Okanagan East advisory planning commission was eliminated last week. CORD's Okanagan West Advisory Planning Commission will remain active.

The CORD board has also ordered a report on future membership options for its  Environmental Advisory Commission and plans to review  the Central Okanagan Dog Advisory Committee as part of an overall review of the region's dog control service.

Several other inactive CORD committees were also eliminated.



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