Kelowna animal farm hopes to relocate before winter

Kelowna animal farm hopes to relocate before winter

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Arion Therapeutic Farm to sell its current property

The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced Arion Therapeutic Farm’s owner to make a difficult decision, but Heather Henderson said they’re looking at this as a new opportunity.

Henderson said the pandemic cut their revenue by more than 50 per cent and it has become harder to make ends meet. She said the farm barely breaks even in a good year but as long as they were able to provide a safe space for both people and animals, that was all that mattered.

But she wanted to do the right thing by the animals and by the people, so she decided relocating would be the best move instead of worrying about being able to afford the cost of the property or worse — closing.

“We’re not a responsible social enterprise if we struggle, drowning in the red,” she said.

“Some of our largest overheads are feeding our animals, so if there was a location that had a hayfield attached to it in an area that is less costly, that would be ideal.”

The animal sanctuary is now on the market for a new site, with hopes of moving before winter comes and snow sets in.

Summers are usually busy at Arion but as people sheltered in place, the farm saw revenues drop. The farm also operates a bed and breakfast but was unable to open it this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Physical distancing, while easy at an acreage, became a disadvantage as the farm’s therapy clients stopped coming for fear of close proximity to therapy instructors.

Henderson said relocating has made staff and volunteers sad, as they have all made memories at the current site.

“There are a lot of memories, and a lot of lives impacted too. Thousands and thousands of people have had their lives touched here.”

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t make new memories or touch more lives in a new location.”

Long-time volunteer Lyn Demchuk said she hopes to tag along when the farm relocates so she can see the story continue.

“It’s hard to put into words what (volunteering here) has brought me because it has brought me so much on so many levels,” she said.

“I still want to help out because if I don’t, I really will miss helping out here. COVID really was the last straw for Arion, and we’re just hoping people keep supporting us.”

Arion will remain open for the time being. If you have a site for the farm, reach out to Heather Henderson at

READ: Kelowna therapy farm forced to sell due to COVID-19 impact

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
UPDATE: West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

A bus at downtown Kelowna’s Queensway Transit Exchange. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna transit system poised for recovery: transit manager

2021 numbers already show ridership levels at or higher than the projected recovery

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

Most Read