he 2017 B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association executive remains the same as it was in 2016 with re-election, by acclamation, of president Fred Steele. His opponent in the race, Jeet Dukhia, withdrew the day of the election, explaining as new president of the Tree Fruits Co- operative, he would be too busy to do both jobs well. Steele thanked all for their support, and suggested this is a ‘new beginning’ for the 128-year- old organization. There was a motion to open the floor to other nominations to contest the vice-president post, for which only incumbent Pinder Dhaliwal had been nominated, but after a lengthy vote by the 150 members in attendance, that was defeated and he was declared acclaimed. Also elected by acclamation were: Ravinder Bains, Sukhdeep Brar and Peter Simonsen,


representing the south; while incumbents Sukhdev Goraya, Surjit Nagra and Tony Nijjar defeated a bid by Karmjit Gill to unseat one of them for a northern seat on the executive...

At the annual general meeting of

the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, several new industry members were appointed: Daniel Bibby (Nighthawk Vineyards), Lindsay Kelm (Quails’ Gate Winery), Melody Schneider (Sandhill Wines), Raquel Meriam, (Travel Penticton), Terry Meyer Stone (Tinhorn Creek Vineyards) and Jonathan Rouse (Associate Dean of Wine, Food and Tourism with the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College). Retiring board members were thanked for their service: Christa- Lee McWatters Bond (Time Estate Winery), Sally Sharpe (Constellation Brands), Roger Wong (Gray Monk Estate Winery and Intrigue Wines), Julian Scholefield (Okanagan Crush Pad) and Patti Ogden-Grady (Okanagan Wine Country Tours).


Returning board members include chair and president Bruce Hibbard (Hester Creek Winery), signature events co-chair Carolyn Nixon (Nixon Hospitality Group), finance chair Jamie Moore (Hooded Merganser), membership chair Andy Gebert (St. Hubertus and Oak Bay Estate Winery), judging chair Luke Whittall (Clos du Soleil), Annika Betts (Monte Creek Ranch Winery) and ex-officio board members Angela Brown, representing Valley First, and Geoff Barlow, representing

ContainerWorld. The society operates and markets four annual wine festivals, in winter, spring, summer and fall; and two judging competitions, with the goal of increasing sales for wineries and tourism partners...

Summerland Pinder Dhaliwal

Varieties Corporation announced in December it has hired Sean

Beirnes to replace Frank Kappel as general manager. He will oversee planning, directing and executing SVC’s policies, objectives and initiatives. Beirnes comes with experience in several management positions at Sun-Rype Products Ltd., including overseeing new product development, major product launches and business process improvements, which the SVC board says it believes will help strengthen SVC’s position in a competitive international marketplace. Beirnes said he looks forward to increasing the corporation’s global reach while continuing to diligently protect the interests at home of Canadian fruit growers. Beirnes holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph, as well as a Juris Doctor degree and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario...

At this year’s Tree Fruit British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2017

Symposium held in Kelowna, Vernon apple growers Tahir and Sajit Raza were presented with the Golden Apple Award, while Paramjit and Baljit Gill, who grow soft fruit in the Ellison area of Kelowna, received the Soft Fruit Award. The Raza family have been growing Ambrosias in Vernon for the past 20 years. Tahir grew up in a family of farmers in Pakistan and found himself back in the industry after he immigrated to Canada where he has now been joined on the orchard by his wife, brother and sister-in-law, keeping farming in the family...

The deadline for an exemption to the application fee for existing non-domestic groundwater users has been extended from Feb. 28, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, giving those users 10 months longer in which to complete their application for a licence. Groundwater licencing in B.C. was introduced as part of the new Water

Sustainability Act, which replaced the old Water Act, which did not regulate

Sean Beirnes

groundwater. The new law came into effect a year ago. In order to comply with it, all groundwater users must apply for a licence before Mar. 1, 2019. Rental fees, however, will apply from

the date the regulation came into effect, Feb. 28, 2016, for existing users, and from the date of construction for new users. Domestic groundwater use is exempt from licensing and fees. That includes a domestic well and water used for household purposes such as drinking, washing, watering a garden or providing water for domestic animals and poultry. However, domestic well users are encouraged to register their wells so their water use is known and it can be protected for the user. Submit a well registration form to: Details about the new act can be found at: ...

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