IF EVER KAMLOOPS thought it had shed its Cowtown past, Tuesday that delusion was cast aside. There was a cow on the Highway 1 bypass, blocking traffic near the Peterson Creek Bridge, as it made its way from Upper Sahali to the Kamloopa Powwow Grounds. There, the cow unfortunately met its demise, as it was put down by the RCMP on instructions from a veterinarian.
In the Kamloops region are some the oldest and largest ranches in the province. Circle Creek Ranch, Frolek Cattle Company, and Devick’s Ranch are just some of the ranches in the greater Kamloops area.
In Campbell Creek is B.C. Livestock stockyards, where there are weekly sales of cattle. There are a number of small feedlots near Kamloops, and several large farm equipment dealers as well. Hay suppliers are busy all summer making bales for the long winters.
Even within the boundaries of the City of Kamloops, there are cattle. Out past the airport in the fields off Tranquille Road, up in Barnhartvale along Campbell Creek Road, and on the edges of Aberdeen there are cattle grazing. There are livestock in Heffley, Rayleigh, Lac du Bois, and the outer reaches of Westsyde as well.
So while we don’t expect or want to see cattle on the highway, they are a regular occurrence in our city.
What we should be doing is noticing cattle more. And noticing how important the ranches are.
We shouldn’t be complacent that ranches will always be with us indefinitely.
Beautiful ranches are also beautiful real estate. One of the closest ranches to Kamloops, Deleeuw Ranch in Knutsford, is currently being sold off in chunks. The owners are at the age where they want to slow down. It’s no fault to them that they are selling. My aunt and uncle’s ranch was sold off in parcels too. Smaller parcels are what people buy. There aren’t many people buying large ranches these days.
Ranches take decades to build up. But once sold as parcels, they become almost impossible to use for a viable ranch.
The growth of Kamloops will be one of the biggest threats to local ranching. Driving through Knutsford or Cherry Creek, one can see in every direction, parcels of land which once had cows and calves, but now have mansions and luxury cars.
In Kamloops, 46 per cent of the City’s land is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The soon-to-be elected Kamloops council will be faced with requests to support the removal of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The new council needs to recognize the importance of agriculture to our city and to the region.
Strengthening agriculture, supporting agriculture within City limits and in the surrounding areas is important. Having a council that is committed to agriculture is important to us all.
Nancy Bepple is a former city councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.