This year the village has received numerous complaints about the presence of transient farm workers on the land owned by BC Transportation Financing Authority (BCTFA) located on Veterans Avenue south of the sewer treatment plant. The land is currently held under a License of Occupation by the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen for a regional trail. This limits the village’s ability to address the complaints.
The village has been working with the RDOS since June to come up with solutions. As of September 4 we have received confirmation from the RDOS that they would not oppose an application from the Village of Keremeos to assume the license of Crown land, known as the Northern Burlington Railway within the Village of Keremeos. Village staff have contacted BCTFA for the assumption of the licence and we expect a preliminary response from them early next week. The purpose of the trail will not change but the change in the licence will give the village the authority to enforce the prohibition of camping. Unfortunately it will take a few weeks to have the legal documents completed, but we would like to assure our residents that we are making this matter a high priority with BCTFA.
In the meantime the village will be hiring a contractor to clean up the bush area on the southeast portion of the property that has been used by the campers as washroom facilities. The RDOS has agreed to pay half of the clean-up costs and half the costs for the dumpster.
The village is also looking for long term solutions that will prevent camping in environmentally sensitive areas like river beds and shore lines were the water has receded. The mayor is meeting with various ministries on this matter at the end of September.