Sustainable growth in the Okanagan is on Urban Forum Agenda, Apr. 1

What defines agricultural land use, how effective is the ALR in the Okanagan, where are the real boundaries between city and countryside, and how are Okanagan communities going to plan sustainably for all of these uses?

Those are some of the questions to be explored at the fourth-annual Urban Forum sponsored by UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Planning Institute of B.C. . The forum, When Urban Meets Rural: Planning for Sustainability in the Okanagan, will be held in Kelowna on April 1, bringing together experts from university, government, and agriculture.

“We are trying to focus this forum on areas like Kelowna where there are real pressures on agriculture, rural life and the rural urban fringe under the pressures from very rapid urban development,” says Bernard Momer, Associate Professor of Geography at UBC Okanagan and chair of the Urban Forum organizing committee. “Ironically, it is the rural image that locals are very proud of that also drives much of the tourism and migration to Kelowna.”

Four experts will present short lectures in a colloquium format at UBC Okanagan (11 a.m., Arts Building ART206) in the opening event of this year’s Urban Forum. Lecturers will include:

  • Dr. Kevin Hanna, Wilfrid Laurier University, with a talk entitled In Praise of the BC Agricultural Land Reserve.
  • Dr. Ken Beesley, Brandon University, speaking on the topic Living on the edge: the rural urban fringe in the new Canadian countryside.
  • Ione Smith, Smart Growth B.C., presenting a talk entitled Smarter Growth for BC: Creating More Livable Communities.

Later in the afternoon, (4:30 p.m. at downtown Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts, 422 Cawston Ave.) a public panel discussion will continue to explore urban and rural land use conflict and sustainable growth in the Okanagan.

Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd will deliver opening remarks, and the panel will be moderated by Dr. Bernard Bauer, Dean of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC Okanagan.

Panelists will include all three presenters from the morning colloquium, as well as:

  • Richard Bullock, a Kelowna orchardist and managing director of a large Okanagan orchard and agri-tourism operation. He is active in industry organizations and has served as president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, B.C. Tree Fruits Ltd., and Sun-Rype Products Ltd., and director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
  • Anna Warwick-Sears, PhD, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, including the new coordinated water management initiative, water quality improvement programs and aquatic weed management. She has a background in population biology and watershed planning, and was previously the research director for an environmental organization in Sonoma County, California.
  • Joe Sardinha, president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association. The BCFGA is an industry association representing fruit growers’ interests.

Admission is free and all are welcome.

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