Student councillors Derek Flowers-Johnson (left) and Izabela Krahelskaya stand with Mayor James Baker. Flowers-Johnson served as a youth councillor during his last year of high school. - District of Lake Country

Student councillors Derek Flowers-Johnson (left) and Izabela Krahelskaya stand with Mayor James Baker. Flowers-Johnson served as a youth councillor during his last year of high school. - District of Lake Country

Lake Country’s year in review – February 2019

A look back at the biggest stories of the year for the month of February

Number of vehicles stolen in Lake Country doubles

The number of vehicles stolen in Lake Country spiked in 2018, as 40 cares were reported missing.

In 2017, 17 cars were stolen and in 2016 another 18 went missing, according to a Lake Country RCMP report that was presented to the council.

Thefts from vehicles also increased last year, but there were fewer incidents than in 2018 the report said.

Oyama mourns local teens

Oyama mourned the loss of one of its rising stars, Derek Flowers-Johnson, 18, who was killed in a car crash on Feb 8, 2019.

Kelowna RCMP responded just before 6:30 a.m. to a report of a crash on Highway 97 North near the University of British Columbia overpass. A single-vehicle had collided with a semi-trailer.

Flowers-Johnson was an active member of the community, sitting on Lake Country’s council as a student councilor in his final year of high school at George Elliot Secondary in 2017.

“He never said much (while on council) but he was quite animated,” said Mayor James Baker.

“He got about six scholarships and bursaries and things. He seemed so shy at the table but he was really animated and said how great it was and thanked us for the bursaries because he got the municipal bursary as well.”

Water rates on the rise

Using water in Lake Country got more expensive in 2019.

After much discussion, council decided to increase water consumption charges for its residential, commercial, and seasonal irrigation customers from $0.60 to $0.77 per cubic metre, and increase the agriculture water base rate from $100 to $120 per acre.

Lake Country currently has the cheapest water rates per acre compared to other similar-sized municipalities including Oliver, Osoyoos, Summerland and Peachland.

Clinic adopts holistic approach

Renovations started on a Healthy Essentials Clinic, a facility that aims to take a collective approach to mental health in the community and beyond.

Christina Camilleri, founder and director of the clinic, said it would have multiple services provided by general practitioners, naturopaths, pediatricians, physiotherapists, social workers, councillors and more to help clients on every avenue of their journey.

The clinic was expected to have between three to five physicians and four councilors specializing in mental health and family therapy.

District wins international financial award

The District of Lake Country won an award for financial reporting for the fourth year in a row.

The district’s 2017 annual financial report won the Canadian award for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

As the individual primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning report, Tanya Garost also received a Canadian award for Financial Reporting Achievement.

“Receiving this award multiple years is a significant achievement,” said Garost.

“It is only possible due to the collective efforts of a well-qualified finance team that works hard to meet the financial reporting standards required for an award.”