Seasonal workers find lodging
Chelsea Powrie - Jul 06, 2020 - Biz Releases

Photo: CTV News

The District of Summerland has announced a temporary campsite for seasonal workers with COVID-safe precautions.

From Wednesday to July 31, a managed camp of 14 sites and a maximum of 50 workers will operate within a separated area of Peach Orchard Municipal Campground, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture. It will be monitored 24-7 on-site and checked by bylaw and RCMP regularly.

The question of where to put pickers safely during the pandemic has been an ongoing discussion in the South Okanagan, since new health and safety regulations mean many farms that would typically house workers are unable to do so.

“Seasonal agricultural workers are a designated essential service and play a crucial and appreciated role in our food supply chain, local and regional agricultural economy,” District of Summerland chief administrative officer Anthony Haddad said in a press release.

‚ÄúThis three-and-a-half-week period for agricultural workers using a small portion of the Peach Orchard Campground will assist our local agricultural industry, while ensuring the health and safety of our community. The campground has been used in the past by agricultural workers, so we see this as a good short term solution on land that can accommodate the workers.”

The BC Fruit Growers Association will be providing AgSafeBC-approved COVID-19 safety training to all workers using the campsite.

“Workers in between farm jobs will be able to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by having a safe place to stay, and that is good for everyone,” BCFGA general manager Glen Lucas said.

After July 31, the end of the peak cherry picking season, the infrastructure will be dismantled, and the sites available to the general public again.

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