The District of Summerland says it will be temporarily converting part of a local campground into a site for seasonal agricultural workers.
According to the district, the campsite will be located in a separate area of the Peach Orchard Campground and will feature 24-hour, on-site supervision, protocols, sanitary conditions and will be regularly monitored by bylaw officers and police.
The district says 14 of the campground’s 121 sites will be used for the workers, with a maximum of 50 workers using the facilities at one time, from July 8-31.
In making the announcement on Sunday, the district said the campsite is part of its ongoing plans to provide safe accommodations for seasonal agricultural workers during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The district noted that it has been working with the province, the Ministry of Health, Interior Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the B.C. Fruit Growers Association in planning the temporary campground.
“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials have put in place rules and standards for COVID safety for work conditions and accommodations for agricultural workers,” said the district.
“Some workers may not be able to be accommodated on farms with new standards, and workers that cannot stay on-farm don’t always have access to safe and sanitary conditions.”
The district’s chief administrative officer, Anthony Haddad, said seasonal agricultural workers are a designated essential service and play a crucial role in the local food supply chain.
“This three-and-a-half week period for agricultural workers using a small portion of the Peach Orchard Campground will assist our local agricultural industry,” said Haddad, while ensuring the health and safety of our community.
He noted that the campground had 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.”