Rancher, Bobtail Ranch
What do you love about the Okanagan?
It’s such a unique area. There are so many diverse places around here that make it special and unique. I think many people are not aware of the size of the ranching community in the valley. We have the wine industry, the tourism industry, the beaches and the summer activities here, but the ranching industry goes year round.
What do you worry about when you think about the Okanagan and the environment in the future? Why is a healthy environment important to you?
To us in the ranching community, it’s really important that we maintain our grazing for cattle. Without the water and the grassland, it wouldn’t be possible. It’s really important that sensitive areas get protected. Any opportunity we have to make sure these areas are protected is really important to our industry.
What do you think about a household levy of $10/average/year? What could the benefits of a South Okanagan Conservation Fund be?
The conservation fund would be beneficial because the cost of protecting sensitive areas, for example fencing and restoring wetlands, is really costly to the rancher. Any help to protect these areas is a win-win situation. But also the fund would benefit everyone. When you add it all up, it will help us all tenfold.
If we’re not going to step up and protect it, who is? A number of conservation projects that I’ve seen have had amazing results, including one on my own property. Seeing some of these success stories has been very inspiring. I think if everyone knew what can be done, the good that can be done, they would be behind it 100 per cent.