Lake Country Mayor James Baker as well as council members met in person with Premier Christy Clark and BC cabinet ministers at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Vancouver last week to address some of the community’s high priority issues.
Among the issues raised was the transference of the previous Highway 97, now known as Pelmewash Parkway between Winfield and Oyama, to the ownership and control of the municipality.
Mayor Baker said Transportation Minister Todd Stone understood the issue is something the public are interested in and the devolution of the road corridor is actively being negotiated between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the District of Lake Country.
Council was also interested in whether handyDART services could be excluded from the current freeze on transit expansion.
Another ongoing concern for Lake Country is the diminishing number of family practice doctors in the community. Council requested that the Ministry of Health support a multidisciplinary clinic pilot project in Lake Country, and consider assisting the District with incentives to attract and retain general practitioners in the community.
The Lake Country delegation met with Premier Clark along with the City of West Kelowna delegates and representatives of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) regarding protection of the economy and infrastructure with increased provincial funding for inspection stations in an effort to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from infesting Okanagan lakes.
Lake Country also raised the importance of advancing the timeline to build a middle school. As Lake Country is BC’s fastest-growing community and the three elementary schools have become over-enrolled, council believes a middle school to house the grade six to nine student population is necessary to relieve the pressure on the elementary schools.
“The face-to-face meetings with the ministers were encouraging,” said Mayor Baker.“Not only was there a high level of awareness of the issues our community is facing, but also agreement to work towards resolution of the challenges that are important to our residents.”
Mayor Baker also received a long-term service award at the UBCM banquet for having served 25 years as an elected official.