A proposed camp for summer seasonal workers got the green light today from Town of Osoyoos Council.
But it’ll likely be several weeks before workers can begin moving in to the 49-bed camp structure.
Council directed Administration to begin developing the necessary service agreements and changes to existing covenants to enable the development of the housing camp on property owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and administered by the Osoyoos Employee Housing Society (OEHS).
It also approved providing a subsidy to the OEHS that would include the waiver of water and sewer hookup and inspection fees and capacity charges related to sewer and fire services — a savings of $17,500.
The society — a registered not-for-profit structured by The Watermark, Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip, Osoyoos Hotel & Motel Association and Destination Osoyoos — would still be required to pay up to $30,000 in annual service user fees, administrative costs and legal fees.
“We’re thrilled with the support that we have received from the Town of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Indian Band,” said Daniel Bibby, the executive director at Spirit Ridge, after Council made its decision.
“This is a great initiative that involves several community partners and is the first step towards trying to find a solution for workers in our community.”
The Watermark and Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip have each committed one-third of the $125,000 fund established to move the camp to Osoyoos from Northern Alberta, do some site-prep and landscaping and install electricity.
Other tourism providers would contribute to the costs by “renting” the available rooms for staff.
The camp is currently in place adjacent to Nk’Mip Corner and the Petro-Canada station, hidden amid orchard trees on the property. It includes washrooms, laundry facilities and a gathering area for residents.
“We’re already well underway there,” said the Watermark’s Ingrid Jarret of the work undertaken to relocate the camp to the property and get it set up.
“The utility service connections are the big thing.”
That work likely won’t begin until the service and other agreements are in place.
“The next few weeks are going to busy, for sure,” said Mr. Bibby. “We’ve revised our [opening date.] We’re probably looking closer to June 1. That’s going to be our target.”
CAO Barry Romanko, in a report preceding Council’s vote, outlined the substantial amount of work Town staff have done over the last three weeks to gather information and smooth the development process. That effort didn’t go unnoticed.