Summer has finally arrived and the almost normal amount of traffic and people are enjoying the Region. It may seem it is just as busy as usual but for our struggling small businesses this is a make or break season for the year 2020 and it is not business as usual. Small business retail may or may not survive.
Restaurants at half capacity don’t pay the bills and Resorts that we’re unable to start until more than a third of their high season was already gone will be watching their balance sheets and hoping to clear this year without adding massive debt.
Those individual consumers who have managed to get through the last few months working or receiving any kind of income need to buy local. Shopping on line was a virtual necessity under Covid restrictions but in Level 3 we are all able to get out and buy in person what we need, online shopping does not support our local economies or the friends and neighbours who work in retail in our small communities.
The Town of Oliver will be unveiling, in the near future, a plaque commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the building of the “Ditch” or what we all know as the South Okanagan Irrigation system. In 1919 construction of the dam at McIntyre Bluff began to divert water into the irrigation system and the first Water Improvement District in BC was also created to manage the system. The gravity fed irrigation system would be completed seven years later.
The then Premier of British Columbia, John Oliver, created this Soldiers Settlement Project to provide work and viable settlement lands for the returning WW1 soldiers. 150 men would work on this project for seven years completing 40 kilometres of canal from Vaseaux Lake to the US border.
Today the system is just under 20 kilometres in length providing more than 600 irrigation water services for approx 5200 acres of land. The remaining agriculture land is irrigated directly from the Okanagan River Channel under individual water licenses.
The beautiful landscapes, the fruits and ground crops, and the Wine Industry in the South Okanagan would not be possible without this system.
Thank you to the Town of Oliver for their incredible management of this system and to the ongoing support of all the citizens of Oliver and Area C of the Regional District.
The BC Legislature continues to work through tabled Legislation and Financial Estimates (from pre-Covid) for each of the Ministries. Approx two dozen MLA’s rotate through in person attendance in the Chamber and everyone else attends virtually through large screens set up on site. Hansard, who stitches it all together, has done an amazing job, so that those who like to watch the Legislative channel, do not miss anything. As a BC Liberal Caucus we have voted against (and lost because of Green support for the NDP) Bill 7 which gave Govt more decision making power not requiring the entire Legislature and Bill 11, which is the NoFault Insurance enabling legislation.
A you-tube video has just been released featuring the City of Grand Forks and its people. The music video asks the people of Grand Forks to “Say What You Will” to illustrate community spirit. This spring just as Covid restrictions were ramping up, the video production team, headed by singer/songwriter, Justin Hines, brought the project to Grand Forks and began filming families and friends on their porches where they were asked to write on a white board anything that offered encouragement or said how they felt about their Community. The result is heartwarming and I’d like to think it represents a little something in all of us as we face multiple challenges, personal and otherwise.
Princeton has recently installed new entrance signs that showcase the best of our Forestry Heritage. They were done by Sitka Log Homes in 100mile. They have also installed an incredible collection of statues that are situated all around the Community. They have hit the target of being the Statue Capital of Canada. Please don’t just drive by Princeton on your next trip to the Coast, stop and enjoy all the wonderful art.
We receive many emails daily through our Office. Those that are mass email mail outs/form letters, we forward to the appropriate Ministries. And there are hundreds of those on a variety of current issues. I understand you wanting to add your voice to many others on issues that are sensitive to your philosophies and beliefs and my Office is sending them on. All personal issues are dealt with as quickly as possible but we are also dealing with Ministry Staff who are working from home and things can take a bit longer to get you an answer. And we don’t expect everyone to be happy with the answer either.
Thank you to all the local Highway Staff who are quick to respond to all concerns from the South Okanagan/ Boundary/Similkameen.
The office will be closed the first 2 weeks of August 1 -15 for staff holidays.
Linda Larson, MLA