More than 1,000 BC Liberal delegates will be in Penticton today and Saturday for the governing party’s biennial convention.
The event, which is open to all party members, will take place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
“We are really excited to be back in Penticton,” said BC Liberal communications director Lilian Kim. “The people in Penticton have always been friendly and welcoming to us.
“Delegates enjoy their time when they get to Penticton. The Okanagan is beautiful and I know that a lot of people are excited to be heading out that way.”
Kim said throughout the convention, the party will hold town-hall meetings, policy discussions and workshops on various topics and issues that concern British Columbians.
“The environment is one of the key issues that a lot of community delegates like to discuss. They want to try to make the province more sustainable and more environmentally friendly in their area so that they can keep their areas green,” she said. “Health care is another big one as well — areas like seniors care and how to make facilities more efficient in their community.”
Kim said the convention can be a great place not only to discuss ideas but also to generate them.
“The workshops are really good sessions because a lot of good things come out of them,” she said. “It sort of revs up the engine a little more and gets people thinking a little more, and then more ideas come out of it.”
The convention will culminate on Saturday afternoon with a keynote address from Premier Christy Clark buoyed from her byelection victory in Vancouver Point Grey.
“People are going to have the opportunity to come out and see her after the big win Wednesday and just cheer her on,” said Kim.
According to Penticton MLA Bill Barisoff, the convention will be a good economic boost for both Penticton and the South Okanagan.
“There will be lots of people eating out at restaurants, staying in hotels, buying wine and enjoying themselves here,” said Barisoff.
Barisoff said he expects Clark’s keynote address will be an upbeat one.
“I think she will thank former Premier Campbell for all that he has done for the province and I suspect that she will … indicate some new directions she may want to go in,” said Barisoff.
“I think the economy will be one of the most important things we will look at because people want jobs. It doesn’t matter where people live. The main thrust for most people is to have a reasonably paying good job and to be able to look after their families and put food on the table.”
Barisoff said he will try to be a good host to his fellow BC Liberals while also representing, if not furthering, local interests and initiatives.
“I have got a few things that I want to show a few ministers in the area and I will be looking to do that,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of things happening, whether it is the new addition for the Penticton Regional Hospital or the Eastside Road upgrade. And there is always the concern around where the new correctional facility might go.
“Also, we will be meeting with members of the new Okanagan College to show not only Premier Clark but the caucus how beneficial that has been for not only Penticton but the South Okanagan. So there are a number of things the area is quite involved in.”