Recently released figures from the province of B.C. have confirmed that Lake Country is officially the fastest-growing municipality in the province with the rapidly-evolving Okanagan community growing a whopping 5.6 per cent between 2013 and 2014.
Incorporated on May 2, 1995, Lake Country is rapidly approaching its twentieth birthday – a fitting time to reflect on the growth from an amalgamation of four rural communities to a vibrant town of over 13,000 today. This rapid growth pushed the broader Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area into the fifth fastest growing region spot in all of Canada, with West Kelowna (2.4%) and Kelowna (1.0%) also experiencing rapid change.
“While we have evolved a lot since incorporation, welcoming thousands of young families and retirees seeking to enjoy our Okanagan lifestyle and sunshine, we have also worked very hard to protect the beaches, orchards and wineries that make our area so special,” said Mayor James Baker. “While our community is growing rapidly we are currently seeing an expansion to our agricultural base, with the construction of a major new winery.”
Being the fastest growing community amongst the 162 local governments in British Columbia has not been without its challenges. Like most communities in North America, Lake Country is facing the realities of aging infrastructure, with pipes and roads reaching the end of their useful life. However, with a solid set of plans and funding strategies, they are working towards a systematic renewal of these community building blocks.
“We have also been fortunate to see a rapid expansion of our business base recently. Business licences are up dramatically, with 2014 being the second highest year for active business licences in Lake Country since incorporation,” said Mark Koch, the District’s Director of Community Services.
With a growing town centre, ever-increasing amenities, and an expanding residential base, this growth has meant that in 2014 new growth covered the equivalent of a two per cent tax increase in municipal revenue – which has helped the community update critical infrastructure and amenities while trying to keep taxes reasonable.
“it’s exciting to see how our community has evolved over the last twenty years since incorporation, embracing change while attempting to respect the key characteristics that make Lake Country so desirable,” said Baker