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Unincorporated communities don’t see the money

Unincorporated communities don’t see the money

Wow! I think we are experiencing an unexpectedly early fall.

I always worry along with our farmers when we get rain in the middle of harvest. I’m sure it’s not a benefit to our apple crop or the hundreds of acres of grapes still hanging on the vines. 

I hope we return to our usual sunny and dry fall quickly, as we are in the middle of harvest celebrations all around the Boundary Similkameen.

I attended the annual Rock Creek Fair and despite the clouds and occasional rain showers thousands of people of all ages came to admire the animals, fruits and vegetables and enjoy all the great fair food and booths. The young farmers of 4H opened the Fair by singing Oh Canada . It is wonderful to see such a large group of our youth getting involved in farming.

The closure of the IGA grocery store in Okanagan Falls prompted a group of concerned citizens (Let’s Grow OK Falls) to get together and share their experiences and vision for the future of this community. 

Some were commercial property owners, some were members of volunteer organizations and others just local citizens who love Okanagan Falls. Many topics were discussed with a focus on the need for housing suitable for middle income earners, as well as policing and the need to just clean up properties to make the entire area more visually pleasing. Unfortunately, unincorporated areas do not have access to the monetary supports that incorporated areas do. 

Everyone was in agreement that there were several areas of improvement that could be pursued and I hope that people will volunteer to get involved in some committees to follow up on all the great ideas. 

South Skaha Place is now officially open. As with any project of this kind, it has had a long and sometimes difficult path getting to this opening. Special thanks to the chair, Robert McLeod, and congratulations to all the citizens of Okanagan Falls who have played a role in getting this affordable housing project for seniors from a dream to reality.

While most of us in the South Okanagan/Boundary/Similkameen do not live in communities totally dependant on forestry, many B.C. communities have relied on forestry directly for their economic survival for generations. 

All of us will feel the losses as a large portion of the B.C. economy has relied on the income from forestry to contribute to our roads, schools and hospitals. 

Everyone understands a changing global economy, but losses were expected when the ‘bug kill’ wood was gone and neither large forestry companies nor government did the transition work necessary to retrain a workforce or help communities develop other economic opportunities. Six thousand jobs lost, 25 mills curtailed or closed and 22 communities economically affected are numbers we should all be concerned about no matter where we live.

While my office often gets bogged down in bureaucracy, some things we have had success with particularly is getting information and support to seniors and others who may be unaware of programs and grants that can make life a bit easier. 

My constituency assistant, Patt Vermiere has created a folder of information that she has been successfully presenting to individuals and groups throughout the riding and assisting them with the filling out of forms and applications that are often complicated for most of us.

Please call my office at 250-498-5122 and leave a message if you would like to have Patt speak to you, a group of your neighbours or your organization about what is available. There is also a staff change at my office as Colleen Misner has decided to move onto other career options. 

I will have a new part-time staff person in October, Everett Baker, so please give him a bit of time to get up to speed and he’ll be pleased to help.

Please email anytime.

Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson

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