Southern Okanagan Lands Project

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Southern Okanagan Lands Project

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Initially part of the Water Rights Branch of the British Columbia Department of Lands, the Southern Okanagan Lands Project was established in 1918 following the passage of the Soldiers Land Act. The Act permitted the provincial government to purchase 22,000 acres of land from the Southern Okanagan Land Company for use as a soldier settlement project. The settlement scheme included the establishment of the townsite of Oliver, the subdivision and sale or lease of lots in the region, and the construction of an irrigation system based on the open canal. Although construction of the irrigation system was completed between 1918 and 1927, the Project continued, under the direction of the Project Manager, to maintain the irrigation system, sell lots, collect payments for land and water use, and perform other functions such as maintaining streets and keeping meteorological records. Responsibility for administration of the Project was transferred from the Department of Lands to the Department of Agriculture in 1956 but was returned to the Department of Lands, Forests and Water Resources in 1963. Following the rehabilitation initiated in 1964, the irrigation system was turned over to the Southern Okanagan Lands Irrigation District (SOLID) on April 1, 1974. The Project continued to manage the sale and lease of its remaining properties until its local office was closed in 1978.


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