Thursday, August 5, 2010

Readers write -- An Open Letter to the Coldstream Municipality

August 5th 2010

As a member of the District of Coldstream Agriculture Advisory Committee I have personally outlined my thoughts for Coldstream Council that they might consider advocating changes that could help the Municipality of Coldstream remain as a rural community.

I began farming in the Municipality of Coldstream in 1964. Coldstream has changed since then particularly because of the increase in its population. Farming changed because of marketing, Free Trade, and new highways that have allowed the world access to the Okanagan. Many of the old farms still exist, crowded between new subdivisions, but they still imbue Coldstream with the aura from their rural heritage. It appears to me as if Coldstream is suffering an upheaval in deciding whether to pursue a “Coney Island Atmosphere” or the pastoral agricultural setting of Long Island in New York. If we truly want agriculture in Coldstream we must make changes to our Municipality.

We have Mother Nature cleaning our fields for us every few years when the ground freezes before the Spring run off, but if the Municipality would provide some ditches and culverts to control flooding, the little streams that come from springs in our fields would not form sewage creeks that carry debris to our famous Kalamalka Lake. We could stop looking to animals to offer up as pollutants because of our neglect to the water courses.

“The Government of Canada is investing more than $500,000 to help British Columbia livestock and poultry producers to share information and raise industry awareness of farm animal care best practices.” Source: Government of Canada, 2009.

This investment is thought to be a benefit to animals, farmers, ranchers and the industry, and to allow recognition of the ecological goods and services provided by farmland and establish means of providing benefits to producers for these public goods.

I believe that changes must be allowed in the standards for the classification of land as a farm. Farming standards should include proven receipts of supplies raised for family consumption, so that small properties can be country farms with beef cattle, milk cows, poultry and egg production. Animals are raised in humane and healthy surroundings with any other products that small farms can manage, such as strawberries, raspberries, tree fruits even honey. This overflow in neighborhoods could feed many people if necessary. This food has been proven healthier than when animals are raised under the fear and stress of intense battery operations.

Of particular interest to myself are horses. The sport of Kings and the history of the Equine sport helped open our nation. The industry they created, is one of the largest in many Provinces. The current criteria for farm status regarding horses gives credit for horse rearing only. When the economy causes sales to slow, farms are still forced to produce foals with no market to sell them . The only beneficiary of this situation is the packing house. In 2009, statisticians published the fact that 72,199 horses met their death in Canadian Slaughterhouses. Approximately 1775 horses go to the slaughterhouse every week in Canada. Horses in North America are not normally bred for human consumption. Their systems have received antibodies and many prohibited substances when they were racehorses, some were even Champions and many have been beloved pets and companions. These substances in their bodies have made them unsuitable for human food.

Laws must change to facilitate small farm survival in the Coldstream and in British Columbia. Horse boarding, training, stud fees, renting, and trail rides, are included in business receipts normally. I do not understand why this must be qualified by reproduction. My father in the early 1900’s had a Livery stable .He drove horses instead of cars to deliver Doctors and others. He looked after horses in small towns until they were picked up. This is a very old business that still exists.

The Vernon District Riding Club has existed for over fifty-five years. Members of the riding club that don’t have horse trailers must ride on Aberdeen Road. This narrow road has become popular as a speed testing track. Numerous letters to the Municipality still have not reduced the speed allowed. Horse signs hung by the road do not make Coldstream a safe rural community. Why not reduce speed in the Coldstream? If in a hurry, take the highway.

As we have many horse farms in the Coldstream, why would horse trails not be a priority? New York City has a famous trail in Central Park where horses are ridden and driven.

Kin Race Track has a history in Vernon that goes back to 1885, and was confirmed, in the year 2000, to be Canada’s oldest active racetrack by Louis Cauz, the longtime historian for Woodbine Race Track. In Vernon, Kin Race Track is facing destruction at the discretion of court proceedings because the present active politicians in Vernon want a few more playing fields. History and tradition has not removed their course of action. The District of Coldstream has supported the horse industry at Agriculture Advisory Meetings. They now should lobby the Regional District of the North Okanagan to support and maintain Kin Race Track as a “Regional Park” that continues to accommodate the sport of horse racing, and other equine and agricultural activities.

Our wonderful heritage should allow us to cherish and enjoy the beauty of Coldstream and the Okanagan by maintaining the traditions established on our own small farms and the surrounding cities and countryside.

Lois Philp,


No comments:

Coldstream Ratepayers News! All Coldstream residents are ratepayers!

The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss;


We must protect our rights and freedom! (Photo courtesy of D. Gibson) Click on eagle to watch EAGLECAMS

About Me

My photo
I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.