It was a little surprising to see Jeff Rowe of Valu Plus Foods approach Keremeos council about transient farmworkers’ issues at the December 17 regular meeting of council.
It is common for that topic to slide into dormancy for the winter months, only to be resurrected as summer approaches, but last week Mr. Rowe led a highly spirited charge against Mayor Manfred Bauer over comments he made at a regional district board meeting earlier in the year – comments that, in our opinion, genuinely reflected the state of the past summer’s situation with transients in Keremeos.
It seems to us that the transient issue was much more subdued this year, compared to other years at least. And while it appears that everyone is in agreement that the police are doing a much better job, it would seem that there is still some polarization in the business community as to whether things actually improved or not.
We don’t agree with Mr. Rowe’s suggestion that the village follow Osoyoos’ methods of dealing with the transient issue – all that happened there was to displace the problem a few kilometres down the road, at additional expense to the taxpayer. Aiming additional law enforcement at a particular group of individuals also strikes us as prejudicial, especially when one notes that only a small minority create the negative issues.
We repeat what we have said before about this issue – there can be no solution to the transient issue without the participation of the local agriculturalists that hire them. Until that happens, any attempt by anyone to come up with a solution, we feel, is doomed to failure.