MLA REPORT: Boundary-Similkameen has reasons to celebrate

International recognition, partnerships, business excellence and more.

Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson.

Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson.

Congratulations to the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program on receiving international recognition for its work.

The program won a prestigious Integrated Pest Management Achievement Award. While it started in the late 1970s, it took many years for all levels of government to come on board and financially support this program. The result is the reduction in the use of pesticides to control the coddling moth in pears and apples by 96 per cent, saving millions of dollars and improving air quality for us all. Thanks to all involved for their years of dedication to this program.

Telus continues its partnership with the B.C. government in connecting people and communities. There will be $1 million spent in Oliver, $1.6 million in Osoyoos and $1.2 million in Grand Forks over the next few months. Grand Forks also benefits with four full-time Telus jobs in the community and $73,000 paid annually in taxes.

Tracey Lydiatt of Great Bear Paleo Bites in Oliver was recognized by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training for being a great new entrepreneur and growing a B.C. business. She has moved from baking in her kitchen to a modern commercial kitchen and a rapidly growing customer base. We all wish her continued success.

Of note, the most recent report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business puts B.C. small-business confidence the highest in Canada despite the many challenges they face in skilled labour shortages and sluggish demand in the domestic market. Entrepreneurs like Tracey are the bright spot in our economy.

While it may seem strange to celebrate oysters in the South Okanagan, that’s just what the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce did for the week ending April 25. There were several events throughout the week ending with the Oyster Pearl Gala. Congratulations to the Chamber for coming up with such a unique tourism event, and judging by the crowds on the Saturday night it was a huge success.

The Grand Forks ATV club will receive $152,902.23 from the Ministry Of Social Development and Social Innovation to provide work experience for four eligible individuals over the next few months working on special projects. They will help construct nine new camping sites within the Blue Joint Recreation Area, and enhance the trail network in the Granby Wilderness Park and the Grand Forks Secondary School Wolf Trail.

Soroptimist International of Osoyoos hosted its Western Canada conference at Spirit Ridge April 30 to May 2. More than 100 women attended to celebrate the work of soroptimists locally and worldwide. Thanks to all the members of the Osoyoos Soroptimists who did the work of organizing and hosting and will celebrate 30 years of service to their community next year.

A Fire Smart Award of $500 was awarded to the Anarchist Mountain FireSmart Committee, one of only 24 awarded across Canada, for a community event to clean up Sasquatch Pond Park. Volunteers removed brush and other potential flammable materials on May 2, which was National FireSmart Preparedness Day. The community at Anarchist continues to be a leader in keeping their forested community safe from wildfires. Congratulations on your recertification and thanks to Denis Thomson and everyone else who participated.

Homes in the interface areas and Communities like Anarchist who have mostly trees as their neighbours need to learn how to make their homes safe from potential fire events. I will continue to encourage those pockets of development in fire hazard areas to become FireSmart like Anarchist Mountain.

As we move into the warmer, drier season, please use water wisely and watch out around playgrounds and parks as more children take advantage of the better weather.

Linda Larson is the MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. She is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility to the Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, and a member of the Cabinet Committee on Secure Tomorrow.