For much of 2020, COVID-19 was at the top of mind for many people.
Last year, the province held an election and MLA Dan Ashton was re-elected. The first thing he wanted to do when talking about the last year was to speak to the communities the elected him.
“First, I just want to thank everybody for their support. I will continue to do my utmost best to represent everybody in Penticton, Naramata, Summerland, and Peachland, and the rural areas surrounding them.”
It had been a busy year, and even with COVID-19 putting many projects to delay, there were still a number of long-held issues that Ashton was happy to see finally dealt with.
“I’m very glad to see that the first phase of the barriers have been installed from Trout Creek to Penticton. I know there are some issues, and I will be speaking to the Ministry [of Transportation],” said Ashton.
In 2021, Ashton hopes to see the second phase of the barrier installation along Highway 97 be completed, as well as potential considerations in the Penticton to Trout Creek stretch to help make it better for cyclists.
The Penticton Regional Hospital is another point of pride that Ashton sees, as the hospital moves into its second phase of expansion with the remodelling of the emergency department.
He praised the support of the late David Kampe in helping provide for a second CAT scan machine, alongside all of the other work that his support allowed.
“The hospital we have is unbelievable. My thanks not only to Mr. Kampe and Peter Bros. Construction, but to all the other people who have made donations from the entire South Okanagan-Similkameen,” said Ashton. “That has made such a difference.”
“My thanks also go out to those on the front line: nurses, doctors, hospital support staff, custodial staff, thank you for looking after all the citizens of the South Okanagan-Similkameen.”
One of the projects Ashton wants to see make progress in the new year is for an alternate route in case Highway 97 gets blocked, that would ideally use existing infrastructure.
Further, he said that he will do his best to hold the New Democratic Party to the promises that they made during the election, pointing specifically to the $400 rental credit, and to pandemic pay for workers in non-government run health-care facilities.
Ashton plans to keep on what he has said been the key to his success as a member of the assembly.
“As I’ve said all the way along, if you didn’t vote for me, didn’t vote, or you did, I’m here to help. Our offices are open, we have an office that’s open one day a week in Peachland, a fully-functioning office in Summerland and a fully-functioning office in Penticton. We’re here to help everybody.”
Ashton noted that for the time being, it’s preferred if constituents contact the offices over the phone, but for those who want to meet with someone in person at an office, masks and socially-distancing are required.
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