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Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship in dire need of new field truck

A South Okanagan non-profit organization is reaching out to the community for support after its field truck was completely written off following a vehicle incident.

The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society says its truck was significantly damaged while parked on a street in Penticton, B.C., back in December.

“We had an old field truck; it was a 1999 Ford Ranger and in the middle of the night someone hit it. No one was injured, which was great, but it was completely written off,” said Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society Stewardship biologist Lia McKinnon.

“Since it was a 1999 Ford Ranger, what we got from ICBC isn’t really enough to pay for a new truck. We’re hoping to buy something a little bit newer and more reliable. We are primarily grant funded and unfortunately our grants for some reason specifically say we can’t use them for a lease, so we really do need to have enough money to be able to buy something new to us.”

The organization is based in Penticton and works throughout the Okanagan-Similkameen region which includes Princeton and all the way up the valley into Armstrong and Cherryville.

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According to the Stewardship, having a truck is critical for the work that staff and students do year-round.

“We use it for all of our work. We do a lot of invasive plant management with our students so it carries our brush cutters and our garbage bags and our garbage pickers, it carries our staff around,” said McKinnon.

“In the fall we do a lot of plantings, so it carries our plants and our shovels and all of our other tools so it’s really essential to what we do.”

Currently, the society is using personal vehicles but McKinnon says it is not a permanent solution.

“If we can’t buy a vehicle, maybe we can rent one, but that’s also difficult with summer students because they’re often so young and then we use them out in the bush, you know, throwing weeds and shovels and things on them,” said McKinnon.

“So, we need something that we can scratch up the inside of.”

The non-profit has launched a fundraising campaign in hopes of purchasing a new truck and all the information is available on the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society website.

“There’s a link there to donate to the truck campaign and if anyone has a truck that they’re not using, we can also offer tax receipts,” said McKinnon.

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