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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Association of B.C. Irrigation Districts, January 29, 1946 Association of B.C. Irrigation Districts Jan 29, 1946

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Sl^^^S' Mi n u. t e s ..IRK
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Association of B.C*
Irrigation Districts held in the Court Room, Casorso Blocks Kelowna, B.Cc
at 10 a.m. Tuesday the twenty-ninth day of January» 1946.
Chairman, Vice-President J".B.. Keenanj Secretary, Do McDougall*
Delegates Present.
J. Qa  Keenan
G. D-. Osborn
G. Co Tassie
J. Casorso
A. Wo Gray
J.B.. Clarke
J* A9  Rotchie
H.C.So Collett
G. W. Hawksley
W... R. Reed
W. B.Sanderson
.J. W. Hannam
GcD. Fitzgerald
E. Sammet
W. M. Munro
Lo Vo Francis
A. D. Grant
LoGo Butler
E. C. Paynter
J. Stirling
J..J. Conroy
T. B. Reece
R. W. Corner
Do McDougall
Scotty Creek
The Notice calling the Meeting was ready hy the Secretary.
MINUTES: Proposed by G.. Co Tassie seconded hy J. BP Clarke
That the minutes of the meeting held on the 9th day of November, 1945
be adopted as read* Carried. ||i
The Secretary read a letter from Mr. A* Eo Harrison confirming his
resignation tendered at the last meeting, as he had now sold his farm
and moved to the Coast.
ELECTION The Chairman then called for nominations for President.  It was
of    the general opinion that the Secretary and President should be
OFFICERS from the same District. Mr. A* .W* Gray was then nominated for
President by Mr, L. G..Butler. jg|
Proposed by Mr* Fitzgerald*, seconded by Mr. Francis
■That nominations close. f|||        Carriedo
Mro McDougall was nominated for Sjgjretary by Mr. H.C*S0 Collett*
Proposed by Capt, Keenan. seconded by Mr. Grant
That nominations close..
The Chairman then declared Mr. Gray elected as President and Mr.
McDougall as Secretary, and called upon Mr0 Gray to preside over the meeting
In taking the Chair, Mr. Gray thanked the delegates for the honour conferred upon him. He thought that it might be possible to find a permanent
solution to the irrigation problf$t but in order to do so, no opportunity
of presenting their case must be overlooked* He then called for nominations
for Vice-President, and Mr* CD. Osborn was noii&nated by Capt* Keenan. Proposed by Mr* Collett« seconded by Mr. Fitzgerald
That nominations close* Carried.
CORRESPONDENCE: An inquiry addressed to th§ Minister of Lands and Forests,
as to whether the Government intended to enact a new policy in regard to
irrigation at the next session of the Legislature, brought a rather non<
commital reply which was ready by the Secretary. It did, however, state
that a "study is being made, and It is anticipated that some decision will
be reached, when the Districts indebted to the Government will be duly
Capt. Keenan said there were rumours of the proposed Government decision,, and he did not think any satisfactory settlement would be made unless strong action were taken by the Associationo  In 1938 the Districts
were split up, and each one dealt with separately. The Association should
be the speaking body for all, if we ever hoped to be better off financially.
What .had happened In the case of B.M.I.D. was a fore-taste of what might
be expected. The Chairman stated that the benefits of collective bargaining had been amply demonstrated in the fruit businesso What concessions
had been gained from the Government for irrigation had resulted from concerted action, and while in some cases the help was too little and too late,
in others it had made it possible to see an eventual way out of debt* All
the Districts should now stand together.
Mr. Sammet, on behalf of the Naramata delegation, then presented the
following proposal:~
The Government take over all irrigation water storage dams construct
ted, and in process of construction at the cost of construction, and have
value of same applied as credit on the indebtedness to conservation fund
in case of each individual district concernedo
The Government to charge irrigatioitidistricts a certain sum per acre
foot on storage capacity of dams; some not to exceed one dollar per acre
foot P^r annum* ?H^
Ownership of distributing systems such as diversion weirs, ditches,
flumes, pipe lines and all necessary equipment shall remain the"property
of the individual districts concernedo
|fl|| It was also stated that The Ho|JU Mr> Putnam, new Minister of Agriculture, had made a somewhat similar proposal as to Government ownership
of dams and main canals. Mr.. Butler wanted to know if increased storage
were required who would pay for it? S.E.K.I.D. was satisfied with the
present arrangements Hon. Mr. Kenney had said that other Districts were
not living up to the Lougheed Settlement * jfig
Mr-o Corner stated that they felt the same way in Glenmore 0 At the
present rate they would be out of debt at the end of the 30 year period*
They were not in favour of throwing the whole thing open with the possibility of getting a worse deal.
Some of the delegates^stated their Districts had not made the payments required, but in the case of the Black Mountain it was stated that
not only had the payments been made in full, but also the Renewals Reserve
Allotment had been set at less than one-third of actual requirements,
which had the effect of increasing the Conservation Fund instalment, contrary to the 1938 agreement.
|l|§  Mr. Clarke did not think the suggestion discussed would suit their
case* He compared the position of the other Districts with that of Oliver,
and thought that if the Government could afford to write off $5,000,000
on that project, they could well afford to wipe out the Conservation Fund
debts, which did not amount to that figure, and were spread over more
territory. There should be the same deal for everybody• Grand Forks,
which had its entire debt cancelled, was also mentionedo
The President mentioned a sound picture, of the T0V0A0 which had been
shown at the BoC*F.G.A. Convention, and thought that some such idea tsould
be worked out for the Okanagano What man has done, man can do« The whole
scheme would be under a-regional Authority, and could be accomplished only
by having the Federal Government extend the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation
Act to British Columbia.Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were seekinavtoch extension in order to reclaim 150,000 acres of marsh land adjoining the
Bay of Fundy, and similar extension was sought for the Peace River Blocko
Premier Hart was anxious for such action and had already "taken the. matter
up in Ottawa,  It would strengthen his hand to have public opinion behind
him.  It had been backed strongly at the BcCoF.G.A. Convention and he
would like to see the Association get behind the move.
Several of the delegates expressed themselves as strongly in favour
of such action. The Dominion Government was looking for such projects in
order to provide work, land and homes for veterans, and this was the only
means by which it could help the present Irrigation DistrictSo  It would
increase the Dominion revenue very appreciably and as the 1944 crop had
run between 21 and 22 million dollars, the cost would probably be repaid,
indirectly, several times over inside of 10 yearso
In reply to Mr. Butlerfs question as to whether the cost would be repayable, the Secretary replied that he had on file a newspaper clipping
which stated that in Alberta^ not only had all capital charges been ab
sorbeds but also the irrigation districts were relieved of part of the costs
of maintenance and operation*,
Mr. Corner thought that the increase in area under water might not
be a benefit to the present farmers,, and that it was not up to us to" propose, a change unless and until we know it is beneficialo
The President stated that all Canada was now after extension of the
Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act, and our own.Provincial Government wanted
as much public support as possible for the move«  It had been amply demonstrated that our farmer trouble had been under consumption rather than
over production There was the short view and the long viewo It was also
stated that the only way in which we could help returned men to locate in
the Valley was by pressing for the application of the Act hereo Mr. Stir
ling thought we should have more information about the Acto
Proposed by H. C„ Collett and seconded by J. Cc Keenan
That the President, Secretary and MrP Stirling be appointed a committee to
study the Act and how it would affect the present Districts and to report
to the Associationo Carried.
Mrc Fitzgerald thought that the new land might get lower rates than
the present lands and that it should be watched very closely  Capto Keenan
did not think that the Act could harm us, but thought we should watch
closely the doings of the House in Victoria during the coming session, and
If the irrigation question was brought up should have representation at
Victoria.  It was likely a move would be made to mortgage irrigated lands
for Government debtso  In Alberta, irrigation was extended to 2,000,000
acres, and the rates ran from $1.50 to $2.00* He thought action should be
taken by the meeting to encourage the extension of the Act to British
At noon the meeting adjourned to reconvene at 1.30 p0m.
On resumption the Secretary read a brief which he had prepared for
presentation to the Minister of Lands and Forests; also an account from
the Vancouver Province of an address by the Hon., Fran Putnam at Salmon Arm.
He was reported to' have stated that "without water on the land in the
Okanagan Valley, prosperous communities would be little more than cow townso
Even if the entire debt owed on irrigation projects were wiped out by the
Government, the country would be no worse off than under no irrigation.
He hoped a definite irrigation policy would be formulated during the forthcoming sessiono He thought the Federal Government should bring water to a
central point from which growers would be responsible for its distribution;
and that the taxes B.Co is paying Ottawa certainly entitled us to that
concession*" (It is noticeable that accounts of the same meeting in the
Valley papers did not mention Mr. Putnam*s remarks in regard to irrigation)
Mr. WoAoCo Bennett had also recently stated that support would be very welcome by the Provincial Government for the extension of the Prairie Farm
Rehabilitation Act to British Columbia* - 4
In the discussion which ensued several speakers expressed themselves as stongly in favour of immediate action in support of the Minister
of -Agriculture's views, and in support of the Provincial Government's
request for the extension of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act to B. Co
The following resolution was finally adopted unanimously, and the Secretary instructed to send copies of it to Premier Hart in Ottawa, the Federal
and Provincial Ministers of Agriculture, Hon* E. T. Kenney, Hon. Grote
.Stirling and Messrs, Bennett, Morrow and Laird.
Proposed by Mr... Hawksley, seconded by Mr. Casorso:
WHEREAS irrigation in British Columbia is in an unsound financial position
and WHEREAS, the development of new irrigated lands is essential to provide* for settlement of returning veterans, and
WHEREAS the co'st of extension and enlargement of the present irrigated
areas, and the development of new section cannot be carried by the land
immediately effected,, but must be considered a provincial and national
BE IT RESOLVED that this meeting of the Association of the* B.Co Irrigation
Districts urge the federal government to extend the terms of the Prairie
Farm Rehabilitation Act to British Columbia, so that the many veterans
settling in the irrigated areas be not handicapped by exorbitant irrigation
charges, and that'irrigation in this Province be placed on a solid basis.
Proposed by Mr. Casorso9 seconded, by Mr. Conroy
That brief be sent to the Minister of Lands and Forests.  Carriedo
In the discussion of this motion several of the delegates spoke
strongly in favour of sending a delegation to Victoria. Mr. Reed stated
that his District was satisfied with the present arrangement and would
not support a delegation at the present time. After some further discussion it was decided that it would be premature to send a delegation at
the present time, but that if it was definitely known that the irrigation
question was coming up for discussion and review in the HouseD the
Association should send representatives to Victoria at that time. Each
District was asked to interview its Member on the subject, and to ask him
to keep them informed if the irrigation question was to be brought up.*
Proposed by Mr0 Clarkeft seconded by Mr0 Reece
That each District contact their Member, and that if they think we could
further our case, a delegation be sent to Victoria.       Carried,.
Proposed by Capt. KeenanQ seconded by..Mr. Clarke
That the Bank resolution authorizing the signatures of the President and
Secretary on cheques of the Association be adopted*       Carriedo
Proposed by Mr» Tassiefl seconded, by Mr. Casorso
That owing to the liklihood of increased activity during the reconstruction
period, an assessment of 20 per irrigable acre by made on each of the member
Districts for the year 1946. Carried.
The financial statement was then presented showing a balance on hand of
Proposed by Do McDougall9   seconded by Capt. Keenan
That the Financial Statement be adopted* Carried.
Proposed by Mr* Conroy, seconded by Mr. Collett
That' the Secretary's salary be set at $100.00 per annum.   Carriedo 5 -
Proposed by Mr. Collett, seconded by Mr. Casorso
That the Secretary of the S.E.K.I.D. be appointed auditor for the coming
year. Carried.
Proposed by Mr. Collett, seconded by Mr* Sammet
That a request be made to the Public Utilities Commission that the extension of the facilities of the W.K.L. & P* Co. to the rural areas of
the South Okanagan and Similkameen be accelerated.        Carriedo
Mr. Attwood of the Provincial Game Department then gave a short
talk on trapping as it affected irrigation. He admitted that preservation of beaver was an effective means of prolonging the run-off periodo
His main contention in defence of permitting trapping of beaver on
irrigation water-sheds was that the trapper under present license laws,
was in a more stable position than his predecessor, and that he farmed
rather than mined his trap line, thereby keeping the beaver population at
a fairly constant level, which was advantageous both to himself and to
irrigation. He admitted, however, that when beaver preserves had been
established the trappers on either side of the reserves were inclined
to cross the line into the reserve. He also stated that the tagging
system now in force gave a pretty close check on the beaver population.
He explained that the drainage of beaver ponds or regulation of their
level could easily be accomplished by a pipe under the dam carried upstream for some distance from where the beaver were working. There was
some slight disagreement with Mr. Attwood*s deductions, but a hearty
vote of thanks was tendered to him for his interesting talko
At 3.20 p.m. the meeting adjourned.


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