Kevin Parnell (right) and Lake Country Mayor James Baker, at the opening of the new Highway 97. - Image: Capital News file

I will always love you, Lake Country

Lake Country’s managing editor says goodbye to the community

I didn’t know much about Lake Country when I started covering the district about four years ago now, first as a reporter for the Lake Country Calendar and for the past 16 months as the paper’s managing editor.

But as happens when you start to cover the news, you learn a little about a lot of things, so it is with a touch of sadness that I say goodbye to those of you who have been reading the Calendar, either in print or online.

This is my last issue as managing editor as I have resigned my position with the newspaper to move on to another career outside of journalism.

But, thanks to these past four years as a reporter/editor, I now am fully capable of telling friends what a wonderful place Lake Country is, how many amazing community-minded people there are, and many great things happening in the DLC, as we like to call it.

It’s difficult to write what’s known as a goodbye column, looking back on a career, when said career in Lake Country was only four years. But after 24 years in the journalism business, I’m proud to add Lake Country to other places I have worked: Smithers, Quesnel and for the past 15 years at the Kelowna Capital News, the Calendar’s sister paper.

There is just so much going on in Lake Country that is exciting for its residents. News-wise it has never been a sleepy place.

Just a few stories and characters that I recall, as I head out the door.

• The Okanagan Rail Trail and all of its splendor and possibilities is going to be a great thing for the region, as proponents always said. It still boggles the mind that CN Rail was given Okanagan Indian Band land to build a railway on with the promise to give it back to the OKIB when done, then allowed to sell it for $22 million instead.

• Speaking of the rail trail, it will be interesting to see how and when Lake Country can start paying back Kelowna for the $2.6 million Kelowna paid for the rail trail through Lake Country. Not many of the excess lands (zero) that were supposed to be sold have been.

• I remember covering the new Highway 97 opening and the closure and renaming of the old highway to Pelmewash Parkway. It was a great call by the council of the day for naming it Pelmewash Parkway, an Indigenous word and the original name of Wood Lake. Nice choice Duane Thomson!

• The last few years have seen Lake Country battle its fair share of fires and I’d like to thank Lake Country Fire Department chief Steve Windsor, deputy chief Brent Penner along with a great crew of paid-on call firefighters for their help. First class all the way. I’ve also had great dealings with everyone at the Lake Country municipal hall over the years, especially Karen Miller. Congrats on a job well-done.

• Lake Country council was always fun to cover. From poop on the rail trail to dog parks, to beach access, drive-thrus, Main street, greenspace, docks, geese, developments and a cast of community characters (good job, Johnny O!). It was fun to join you while it lasted.

• Good luck to chief Byron Louis and the OKIB moving forward. I am very proud to have supported your various battles moving towards Truth and Reconciliation.

• Peace Lake Country. See you on the rail trail/Pelmewash loop.

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