Thanks to everyone who wrote or called, and especially to everyone who showed up at Wednesday afternoon's public hearing, and even more to those who had the passion and courage to speak, the OCP for Areas D and E will be amended to say that both Areas D and E "do not support the introduction, cultivation, use or propagation of Genetically Engineered organisms and encourage agricultural producers to adopt a GE Free policy..."
BeeSAFE has carried on a multi-year campaign to try to ensure that our Regional District Areas - North Okanagan 'D' & 'E' - would declare themselves GMO Crop free, so we can attract sustainable growers instead of factory farms and GM crops. In this regard, in the spring of 2013, we organized public votes in Cherryville (Area 'E'), and in rural Lumby (Area 'D').
Cherryville voted 97% and rural Lumby voted 93% in favour of becoming GMO crop free. These two Areas share the same Official Community Plan (OCP).
=== Issue resolved:
Yet the plans were for the OCP to state that only Area 'E' wanted to be GMO crop free. BeeSAFE opposed that as soon as it was drafted in 2013, but had apparently been ignored.
Was the NORD Board of Directors reneging? The Board of Directors passed the following resolution on June 26, 2013: "... That staff be directed to prepare bylaw amendments to incorporate policy statements into the Electoral Areas "D" and "E" Official Community Plan that reflect the wishes of the community [emphasis added] with regard to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)."
If Wednesday's hearing had included no opposition, Area 'D' might very well have become one of the dwindling number of regions attracting factory farms and GM crops. This would have put our health and economy at risk, since we would then eventually end up with glyphosate (Round-Up™) in our water, air, and soil. And it would have meant that we would be unable to guarantee that we grow organic, i.e. non-contaminated corn, canola which affects other brassica, soy, nor any of the hundreds more GM crops being approved, including tree fruits and alfalfa.
Some of those who care to continue living in an area that has (relatively) clean water and air, and to continue building our local economy based on healthy small enterprises, made sure they were heard. People spoke out clearly.
Director Fairbairn listened, and moved that Area 'D' be included in that statement.