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Aaron Gregory directly at 250-402-3561

READ BELOW

for the EAP's official press release regarding public concern

about keeping the community 

safe from COVID-19 during this harvest season.

For Immediate Release
July 21, 2020 - Creston, B.C.


Migrant Worker Camp Opens in Creston Valley to Provide Safe Overflow
Accommodations this Cherry Harvest


The cherry harvest season is quickly approaching and with it the anticipated
influx of domestic migrant workers to the Creston Valley.


To support the cherry industry in ensuring it has the workforce needed for the
season while keeping the community safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, the
Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Economic Action Partnership (EAP) is pleased to
announce that it has officially opened its temporary Migrant Worker Camp.


Located at the Kozy RV Campground on Highway 3 in Erickson, the temporary
camp will operate for the duration of the harvest season and provide “overflow”
accommodations for up to 50 people when they first arrive and are looking for
work or are in between picking jobs at different cherry orchards.


“We are fortunate to have this overflow campground for our migrant agricultural
workers, who bring valuable skills that are critical to the success of the
agricultural industry in the Creston Valley. With this camp, we are able to monitor
and provide support to workers as well as educate them on new health and
safety protocols” says Aaron Gregory, EAP Community Economic Development
Coordinator.


Since receiving emergency funding from the Ministry of Agriculture in June, the
EAP has been working closely with Interior Health and the Ministry to provide
appropriate accommodations that meet the new Covid-19 guidelines for industrial
camps set out by Worksafe BC.

The camp now includes a camper sign-in/welcome desk, hand sanitizing
stations, temporary kitchens, washrooms, showers, wi-fi access, and laundry
facilities available for $5.00/night per person. Two camp supervisors have also
been hired & trained to manage the camp. On site throughout the day, camp
supervisors will sign in campers, do an initial COVID-19 screening, and assist
them in finding work once they arrive. Extra cleaning of all areas of the camp will
also be provided by staff multiple times a day and emergency plans are in place
to move any camper who tests positive for COVID-19 to a separate location to
safely quarantine for two weeks.


Following an inspection on Sunday by the Ministry of Agriculture, the site has
officially been approved to begin operations. “The migrant worker camp has met
all the standards set out by the Ministry of Agriculture and has followed all the
guidelines. We are impressed with the level of preparedness that has been
shown by the supervisors and project managers.” said Brent Smith, Enforcement
Officer with the Ministry of Agriculture. As of Tuesday, a handful of campers are
now staying at site and each person has been screened and undergone COVID-
19 screening and training.


During the past month Inspectors from The Ministry of Agriculture, Interior
Health, and Fields Forward COVID-19 Coordinator, Ellen Wasser, have also
been working with Cherry farmers to assist them in developing their own health
and safety protocols and provide safe “on farm” accommodations for their own
workers.

With all these preparations in place, cherry farmers will have the workforce they
need, indispensable domestic migrant workers will feel welcome, and Creston
Valley residents can feel assured that their community will stay safe. Following
this season, the EAP will then look to bring together local government and
industry stakeholders to work together to find a long term solution to this
perennial issue that will meet the needs of all partners and support the economic
sustainability of agriculture in the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake area.

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For all media inquiries about the Creston Migrant Worker Camp, please contact
Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Economic Action Partnership team member:


Aaron Gregory
aaron@factor5group.com
(250) 402-3561