Conservation Funds are dedicated sources of funding, held by local governments for the specific purpose of undertaking conservation projects. Environmental conservation is considered a service provided by local and regional governments, similar to services like recreation, libraries, waste management, sewer and water. Several BC regions such as the Central Okanagan, Vancouver Island and East & Central Kootenays have had great success with Conservation Funds.
In December of 2016, the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen, with public assent, adopted a bylaw to establish the South Okanagan Conservation Fund for the communities of Summerland, Penticton, Oliver, and rural electoral areas A, C, D, E, F and I. The funds are in support of conservation efforts to protect, enhance and restore natural areas, water, environment, wildlife, land and habitat.
Now that the Conservation Fund is established, community groups and organizations can apply to the Fund to support locally important and high priority conservation projects. Applications are now being accepted. The next intake for applications is August 2023.
The conservation partnership SOSCP assists with the administration of the granting process, and a Technical Advisory Committee with clearly established criteria also helps to ensure that projects proposed contribute to important conservation goals. All of the final decisions related to fund expenditures and approval of projects are made by local government elected officials. For more details about the Fund and the Technical Advisory Committee, click on the Terms of Reference below.