Vineyard work gets go-ahead

Judge sides with winery, Tk'emlups lends support

Cam Fortems / Kamloops Daily News
June 27, 2013 01:00 AM

Vicki and Ed Collett display some of the first grapes from their vineyard in this file photo from October 2010.

A stalemate over archaeological work at Thadd Springs Vineyard east of Kamloops has come to an end, with the owner saying Wednesday he is cleared for further construction.

Ed Collett, who is pioneering a commercial winery in the Thompson Valley, credited Tk'emlups Indian Band for his ability to move ahead.

Work halted at the vineyard on the north side of the South Thompson River this year when Collett said demands from the provincial heritage branch caused his expenses to go too high. He estimated he's spent $250,000 so far on archaeological work, with the most recent costs going as high as $40,000.

Since then, however, a B.C. Supreme Court justice sided with a Victoria-area homeowner in a similar dispute about archaeological orders. Collett also credited TIB for becoming involved.

"We had a really good meeting with the KIB last week," he said Wednesday. "They really stepped in and helped us out. I think they'll take charge in the future."

Collett said contracted archaeologists went to work for two days this week on a survey and cleared an 8,000-square-foot area for development. The only change involves shifting a proposed building by about 20 metres north to stay away from potentially archaeological finds.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake said he hadn't heard about the approval, but added "everyone is pulling for him

"Everyone is thrilled we have a vineyard in Kamloops."

With archaeological hurdle cleared, Collett said he can move forward with building plans for the proposed crush pad and fermentation facility.

Construction on the $1-million project should start later in the year, with another building utilized temporarily for crushing and fermentation for this year's grapes.

While the vineyard has produced commercial wines, they have been processed at an Okanagan facility.

It bottles wine under the Harper's Trail label.

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