The Agricultural Land Commission approved the Salmon Arm Roots Blues Festival’s application to expand the area it uses for temporary campgrounds. The 2020 festival is cancelled but the approval is good through 2022. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Expanded camping at 2021 Roots & Blues might work if COVID-19 restrictions still required

Salmon Arm staff member suggests approval of bigger campground area could be useful in coming year

Although the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival won’t be taking place this year, its temporary campgrounds have been given the green light through 2022.

Because the temporary campgrounds on three properties at 10th Avenue and 10th Street SW are in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the festival and property owners must apply to the Agricultural Land Commission for approval for non-farm use.

Once again the approval has been granted, this time for three years and for an expanded property area of approximately 12.7 hectares.

Normally only the north end of the property at the corner of the two roads has been used for camping but the festival now has approval to use the full length to the southern property line.

Once the ALC gives its approval, the festival must apply to the city for an annual temporary use permit.

Read more: Camping extended to seven days for Roots & Blues

Read more: Salmon Arm council supports Roots & Blues’ camping application

Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, pointed out that the expanded campground area might lend itself well to social distancing in the future.

“If the festival were to go ahead say in 2021, the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society could apply for a temporary use permit to expand the campground to include the entire property, which they might need under these these new time of COVID, and people needing more separation between themselves in campgrounds – but that remains to be seen.”

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he sees the ALC approval as great news, even if the festival isn’t going ahead this year.

“At least it provides some certainty for the next two years. In our new reality post COVID it will be interesting to see; I hadn’t thought of spacing campgrounds but we have to think about everything differently. So I think this is good news and I’m very pleased and pleasantly surprised.”

Mayor Alan Harrison commended the festival on being good stewards of the properties, bringing them back to agricultural use as quickly as possible. He said that’s been a big factor in why the ALC continues to grant the approvals.

The festival has been using the agricultural land for campgrounds since 2005.

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