Summer is here and throughout the riding there are many community events to enjoy. I will attend as many as possible over the coming months and want to thank all of you for your efforts to include me in your local celebrations.
The Legislature’s Spring Session was a busy one for all of us in Victoria. In addition to balancing the budget, more than two dozen pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
Some were minor housekeeping changes, some were complete rewrites of outdated legislation (liquor laws), and some were controversial (ALR Bill 24). As a government we can do nothing, keep our heads down and thereby not offend anyone – or we can work hard as we did and shoulder the responsibility.
My personal portfolios include chairing the Select Standing Committee on Health (formally chaired by Kelowna’s Norm Letnick), member of the Cabinet Committee on Secure Tomorrow, Deputy Whip, and –my newest challenge – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation for Accessibility (not going to fit on a business card). All MLAs have extra committees in addition to their constituency work.
In the past year many groups and organizations in the Boundary/Similkameen have received grants through lotteries, BC Arts Council and other government programs. These grants support the great volunteer work you do in your communities. Please let my office know if you are working on projects so that we can direct you to the best source of financial assistance.
At the beginning of my time as your MLA I made a list of priorities for each community in the riding, a wish list of things needing government attention. After a year there has been progress on a number of them, though much slower than I would have hoped.
Lakehill Road in Kaleden will have their safety concerns for pedestrians addressed; the people of Hedley will be able to take ownership of the Hedley Cemetery and give it the care and respect the pioneers deserve; and the Rock Creek area will have fire protection options they’ve never had before. Those are only a few of the local projects we have been working on this past year.
The process tends to be slower at the bureaucratic level as even the smallest change can have province wide implications as it may fix a problem in one area but can cause problems in other areas to surface.
Over the summer please safely enjoy our beautiful area. Drowning is an ever present danger, fire can be particularly devastating and highway traffic accidents too numerous as we all get out and active.
Of particular concern for the entire riding are the invasive quagga and zebra mussels. Stay vigilant, informed and help to protect our valuable water systems.
Thank you for your support and patience while we set up temporary office space. Personally I’d like to thank Colleen and Patt in the Oliver office and Marissa in Victoria for carrying on with a smile through it all.
Have a great summer!