The last treaty inked in 1964 diminished our agricultural way of life from the border all the way to Salmon Arm. Prior to the treaty there was a thriving business for all. BC and Washington produced about twelve million boxes of fruit each a year.
Today the American side produces about one hundred fifty million boxes and the Okanagan about four million on average. We gave the Americans water for hydro and flood control. They also used it for irrigation. Apples production is one example there are others. Did you know Washington produces more potato’s than Idaho?
The lead up to these talks started three or four years ago. When I was President of the BC Fruit Growers Association I pressed hard for the establishment of a trust fund to compensate tree fruit growers, BC vegetable growers and potato growers.
The BCFGA has put a lot of work into being heard and making input to government on how such compensation could be realized. Here is something to consider, its not just farmers who will benefit. It is entire communities who will see the eventual spinoff if success is achieved. I would hope the Chamber’s Of Commerce and other business interests will lend support to the BCFGA initiative and express their views to the current government.
Looking at the past it should be noted the Columbia River Trust has grown to over one hundred twenty million dollars. We don’t want some of their money as citizens of the valley we want a fund of our own.
Remember the last discussion and treaty negatively impacted you in many ways not even considered before lets make sure this treaty provides some economic benefit and the impact is positive