7pm – Elementary School gymnasium – Okanaagan Falls
First of three SO Chamber of Commerce political forums for two candidates Linda Larson MLA (Liberal) and challenger Colleen Ross (NDP)
Crowd turnout on a rainy night- 30/40 – deemed small
Like two other recent forums in Osoyoos and Oliver for seniors – this was a well mannered crowd with the meeting organizers the only ones asking the questions.
Local Issues – Kaleden – Lakehill Rd – time to replace? Linda Larson told the forum Kaleden residents wanted a sidewalk down Lakehill Rd and three years ago they got just that. A new road was not, she said, on her list of priorities at this time. NDP candidate Colleen Ross says more must be done in other areas of the riding stating that business depends on good road conditions. She would not mention the road but it was assumed to be the road Rock Creek to Oliver ( Baldy Mtn) that was the reason for her comments. Larson spoke to OK Falls resident talking about a traffic signal and funding for a senior’s housing project.
Education and Schools – is funding sufficient? Ross says more dependable funding must be supplied to all school districts stating that a whole generation of kids in BC have not had the best education and because of a recent high court decision – that will be reversed.
Larson said she thought kids were getting a great education with BC ranking high on math, English and science subjects. Ross says schools need coursellors, nurse visits, librarians and more professional development. “We can do better” said Ross. Larson said that per pupil funding has risen from 6000 to 9000 dollars per students so no one can say BC is falling behind in funding schooling. Ross said the BCTF have warned there is a deficit of 1000 teachers for special needs students in the province. “Children are being neglected” said Ross.
Environment, Pipeline, National Park – Candidates here with very different opinions – Larson yes to Kinder Morgan. Ross and the NDP against.
Larson defending the government’s position on protecting the South Okanagan without a National Park designation and Ross stating, “if elected, this will be done immediately”. Jobs jobs jobs Ross said “Let’s do it now”.
Candidates also took on issues like mental health, MSP, quagga mussels, infrastructure and more.
Another forum will be held in Oliver Wednesday evening at the Frank Venables Theatre. Thursday, the candidates will meet at the Sonora Community Centre in Osoyoos. Both of those meetings start at 7pm.