As I write this the water in our rivers throughout the South Okanagan, Boundary and Similkameen are still dangerously high. While the flooding this year has not destroyed people’s homes to the extent of 2018, it has put more people and land at risk and continues to add frustration and costs to their daily lives.
We are not looking at the Spring flooding as a once in a lifetime experience anymore but rather a new normal that we will have to adapt to and be prepared for every year. Repairs and mitigation (preventative) works still have not been completed in many areas from the 2018 floods. Costs continue to rise and government is now asking you to take on more of the responsibility for your own properties, especially those in low lying flood prone areas. Our love of “waterfront” property continues to haunt us.
My office will continue to help you in any way we can and pass on your concerns to the appropriate Government Ministries.
Covid-19 is a challenge for all of us, not just here but across the country and around the world. As British Columbians and Canadians we have, together, kept the curve relatively flat. But we are all getting frustrated by the restrictions that we have been living under and will continue to live under for many months to come. We are a bit ‘cranky’ at times and impatient with others, who perhaps, are not as diligent as we are in following the rules.
Please be kind, do not judge others, we are not the Covid police.
An area of concern for many was the arrival of our Quebec transient farm workers. This concern was dealt with very quickly by our farming community and agencies under the direction of the RDOS and Interior Health. There are not now, nor was there ever, any cases of the virus in our farm labour communities. There is a shortage of farm labour throughout BC.
The entire South Okanagan, Simiilkameen and Boundary areas are economically dependent on a successful farming season. In addition to a labour issue there are also added costs to our farmers with the need to supply to their workers the necessary PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment) due to Covid-19. Even the weather has conspired against our farmers this Spring.
Many of our local Fruit Stands and Markets are beginning to open and they offer a wide selection of local produce and processed items, like jams and salsa. As Tourists are not going to be here in the numbers we are used to, we (the local residents), are the only consumers able to support our farmers. There will be some visitors from Alberta and other Provinces as restrictions are lifted and the money they put into our local businesses is desperately needed. Many of them own properties in our areas and are paying taxes here just like everyone else. As Dr. Henry says every day to all of us “Be Kind”. Please check for local produce before you purchase imported goods at the grocery store. Even our grocery stores do their best to buy local so check the labels and support the local economy if you are able.
Occasionally when we are dealt lemons we can actually make lemonade and many of our local distillers have taken that to a new level. Dubh Glas Distillery at Gallagher Lake is one of those businesses that stepped up and started producing Hand Sanitizer. Their product, is registered and approved by Health Canada and is available to local consumers in manageable amounts.
In addition to selling the Sanitizer they also donated it to many local organizations and front line workers like our Fire Departments, Search&Rescue and the Food Bank. A shout- out to Grant Stevely and his crew at Dubh Glas Distillery and all the Distillers in our Communities who have helped to fill a shortage of sanitizing products that we need every day.
The Legislature resumed sitting in Victoria on June 23rd.
Under the distancing rules approximately 30 MLA’s can actually be physically present in the Chamber at any one time. Others will be in the building isolating in their offices. 50% of the MLA’s will remain in their respective Ridings but will participate in all proceedings through Zoom. Large screens have been installed in the Chamber and the faces of all will be visible. Proceedings will include the normal Question Period, the statements by Members and the introduction of Bills. If you were an avid fan of the Legislative channel you will be able to watch as before. The hours will be Mon- Thurs as usual. I will be participating from my home or office.
My Office in Oliver is open Tues to Thurs from 10-3. You will either need an appointment (preferred) but drop-ins are also allowed. You will need to ring the buzzer to be let in and sanitize your hands ( available inside).
Graduation 2020 still happened despite the limitations. Many innovative solutions were developed to connect and celebrate the end of the normal public education process for our graduating students. Friends and families gathered in small groups, created videos or did a drive by parade of graduates. A lot of work by teachers and parent groups went into making the Grads of 2020 feel special and I want to thank all of you for the extra effort, it will be remembered.
Finally – please continue to safe distance, get outside as much as possible, attend farmers markets, wear a mask when asked to do so and if it makes you feel safer, treat yourself to a meal at a restaurant, and again from Dr. Henry- “Be Calm, Stay Safe and Be Kind”?