The July issue of the Environmental Leader online magazine reported on a survey of businesses and consumers on the loss of biodiversity. According to the survey, more than half of businesses see species loss impacting their bottom line in some countries, while about 80 percent of consumers said they would stop buying products from companies that do not take biodiversity seriously. Overall though, only 25 percent of CEOs said they considered the loss of biodiversity to be a strategic business issue. Rio Tinto, Walmart, Coca Cola and BC Hydro are some leading companies that have made commitments to reducing or eliminating their industry’s impact on the environment. Read more here.

Excerpted from Penticton Herald, July 16, 2010

“Eager to protect the town’s remaining sensitive ecosystems from potentially damaging development, Oliver council adopted a new set of environmental and riparian development regulations on Monday. Council’s decision followed a 90 minute public hearing during which several speakers expressed concerns that the new regulations would do little more than cost developers time and money.”

“In fact, the bylaw passed by council on Monday contained several amendments introduced to address those concerns. For example, at council’s request, the irrigation channel was removed from the environmental development permit area – although connected to the Okanagan River, the channel is not a fish habitat.”

“Before Monday’s vote, the town’s environmental development area included only the wetland oxbows along the Okanagan River Channel. By changing the Official Community Plan, it has added sensitive ecosystems such as grasslands, wetlands and mature forest. Oliver’s riparian areas include Tuc-el-Nuit Lake, the Okanagan River, wetlands and other watercourses throughout the town. Proposed amendments to these areas include establishing setbacks on watercourses that support fish and fish habitat. Environmental and riparian development areas are seen as an effective tool for protecting environmentally sensitive areas on private lands within communities.”

On June 28, 2010 the District of Summerland Council voted unanimously to adopt the Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit Areas and all the supporting mechanisms into the Official Community Plan (OCP).  Almost 2,000 hectares of land have this permit designation which allows for careful consideration of ecological values during the development application and approval process. This is the culmination of 10 months of cooperation, learning and sharing resources,” reports Don DeGagne, Chief Administrative Officer. Read the full article in Water Bucket

On June 24, 2010, Quail’s Gate CEO Tony Stewart announced a commitment of $75,000 over three years to support NCC initiatives. This is part of the winery’s long-term strategy to incorporate sustainable practices that benefit the environment into the company. Okanagan Program Manager Barb Pryce thanked the Stewart family for their support for conservation work within the Okanagan Ecoregion.

The Sustainable Similkameen Project aims to encourage working together for the overall benefit of the valley while at the same time celebrating the diversity of the valley. Its mission is to establish a socio-cultural, economic and environmental sustainability strategy for the Similkameen Valley that will maintain and enhance the quality of the rural and small town lifestyle. This project began in September 2009 and will run until March 2010. Spearheaded by the Similkameen Valley Planning Society, it offers residents from Princeton to Chopaka an opportunity to join together and plan for a Sustainable Similkameen Valley. There are seventeen panel members for the Sustainable Similkameen Project that range in age from high school students to seniors and represent a cross-section of the whole valley.