Victoria is accused of going too slow when it comes to the North Okanagan’s economy.
Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director, is frustrated that limited action has been taken by the provincial government to ensure the slaughtering of meat can occur at the farm gate.
“We’re still pushing the government on a clarification of the meat inspection regulations,” said Fairbairn, who is also vice-chairperson of the Regional District of North Okanagan.
In February 2013, the provincial government announced that up to five class E slaughtering licences would be allowed in the North Okanagan as part of a two-year pilot program.
However, only one license has apparently been issued so far.
Fairbairn says the economy and farm families continue to struggle because of the meat regulations first introduced in 2007.
Earlier this year, the Interior Health Authority indicated that the process for five licenses was proceeding.
“The applicants are working at their own pace and are all at different stages of completion,” said Chris Russell, specialist environmental health officer, in a letter to RDNO.
Russell anticipated some licenses could be issued in May or June.
Of the five applicants, two are from the Lumby area, two from the Armstrong area and the other is at Gardom Lake.
Given the ongoing delays, Fairbairn wants new measures initiated to ensure meat producers can access slaughtering.
“I challenge the provincial government to exempt the North Okanagan from the regulations like it has done in 10 other areas of the province,” he said.
“This is not a health and safety issue. It was a political decision.”