George Elliot students Dylan Gubler (left) and Sabrina Madsen speak at a Lake Country council meeting

George Elliot students push council for more green alternatives

Local students hoping for more recycling, sidewalks and be involved in community

George Elliot Secondary School’s environmental studies class has stepped forward to push local government and the citizens of Lake Country to become more environmentally conscious and take part in several community initiatives this year.

Students Dylan Gubler and Sabrina Madsen appeared before Lake Country council earlier this month and spoke on a variety of topics, asking tough questions of council on topics ranging from the lack of sidewalks and biking areas in Lake Country to the number of recycling containers in public places and the number of people who continue to use cars instead of walking in the community.

“We really want to help, we really want to be part of this town,” said Gubler. “This community is not very friendly to those that don’t drive. It’s hard to be a part of the place we live in. I feel powerless. We are doing our best but we as the younger generation want to work with the older generation so we can fix all the problems.”

The pair of students appeared as a delegation and made no official requests of council although the wide-ranging presentation did ask tough questions of the district’s elected officials.

“We’d like to question whether garbage audits have taken place (at municipal hall),” said Gubler.

“One thing I’ve noticed is there is not a lot of recycling available,” added Madsen. “Pretty much anywhere you go there is only garbage bins.”

Lake Country Coun. Penny Gambell jumped into the fray and said council does recycle.

“Any written material any any pop cans are recycled (after meetings),” said Gambell. “We’re very keen to hear your point of view. What you say is great because you are just coming into adulthood.”

Also within the students’ presentation were the results of an audit the class performed on area elementary schools where they observed how many children were actually walking to school as opposed to being driven.

The results pointed out that most kids are driven by themselves as opposed to walking or car-pooling.

Coun. Rob Geier, who teaches the environmental studies class, observed the majority of kids at Davidson Road elementary were arriving by single vehicle.

“The district put a sidewalk up Davidson Road but it doesn’t seem to get used that much,” said Geier. “There are a lot of kids that are driven to school. I don’t know if it’s because fear of rods or lack of sidewalks but we have to move forward and try to get more kids out of the cars and start walking.”

A few other suggestions coming from the students included the possible operation of a new community garden, the upcoming bike to work and school week (May 26 to 30) and the possibility of using the old Kelowna Pacific railway as a hiking trail linking the communities around the Okanagan.