Vandals with an apparent penchant for destruction have put an East Kelowna orchardist’s livelihood at risk.
Kewal Singh Mann’s fruit stand and irrigation system were smashed this Monday, and unless there’s a significant downpour in the next 10 days, the heat could wipe out an estimated $75,000 worth of fruit.
“Across 17 acres they took a sledge-hammer and vandalized the whole system,” he said, noting water flowed through some areas until it was cut off.
“The trees need a lot of water in this kind of heat.”
Short of Mother Nature’s intervention, however, Mann will try to fix the damage that’s been done although it’s too unwieldy a project for one person alone to tackle.
“It will be hard,” he said, adding that he’d welcome any help from the community.
As is, he’ll already have to bear a heavy financial burden, as crop insurance doesn’t cover the damage that’s been wrought.
“There’s no money to help,” he said.
“We’re losing more trees and more crop and nobody’s covering that. They said ‘this is vandalism, this is not hail and not rain. You need to get somebody else’.”
There are also lingering questions about the futility of starting again, as this is the third strike against him since the start of summer, although Mann said he’s “not giving up.”
Mounties have launched an investigation, however, said Const. Kris Clark.
“I don’t know much about the recent vandalism where there was just a single pipe hit, but this one is extensive. It would have had to be multiple people. It took some time to create that kind of damage.”
Clark also said he believes it’s an isolated incident and that someone “appears to be targeting” Mann.
“Whether it’s a personal vendetta or profession, we just don’t know,” he said.
That’s what Mann can’t figure out either, noting that he doesn’t know anyone who’d want to hurt him.
To offer help, however, Mann can be contacted at 250-498-9413