MLA REPORT: Summer full of great events, announcements

Dan Ashton is the Penticton MLA, representing Penticton, Naramata, Summerland and Peachland.

Dan Ashton MLA

Dan Ashton MLA

If you have been driving between Penticton and Summerland north of Trout Creek over the past few days you may have noticed a construction project underway.

This work is being undertaken to build a two-metre-wide pathway that will extend 1.3 kilometres during this phase. This project has a value of just over $700,000 and will provide a safe corridor for cyclists, joggers and those out to enjoy a walk.

This pathway builds on an announcement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure made in June to host a pilot project here in the South Okanagan creating enhanced signage and routes specifically for cycling.

Ours is a very beautiful region to explore on a bicycle and the importance to increase road safety with dedicated bike lanes where possible and more resources for cyclists to enjoy the region not only promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, but also supports local tourism small business.

Last weekend, roughly 2,500 cyclists from all across B.C. and elsewhere participated in the Axel Merckx Grand Fondo race as just one example on the growing importance of cycling to our region and elsewhere in British Columbia.

I will be back in Victoria this week for a rare summer sitting of the B.C. Legislature. The reason for this special summer session is to debate the LNG project agreement legislation that will be another step towards the creation of a $36-billion investment in a new LNG facility in northwestern B.C.

With an estimated value of $36 billion US, this LNG infrastructure would be one of the largest private-sector investments in the history of B.C.

On a smaller scale locally, another project just announced is a new nine-kilometre waterline to service the Jones Flat and Garnet Valley areas in northern Summerland.

Safe, healthy drinking water eliminates the need for boil-water advisories and also supports local agriculture and livestock.

In addition, the completion of this project will result in some new fresh new asphalt in an area where it is long overdue. The total cost of this project shared between Summerland and the provincial and federal governments is estimated to be $6.8 million.

As we are having a particularly hot summer, I would like to remind all outdoor enthusiasts to exercise extreme caution when on Crown lands to avoid any activity that can cause a spark and, in turn, a wildfire.

Although many wildfires are caused by lightning, more than half are as a result of human activity.

To report a wildfire in B.C. call 1-800-663-5555 or call *5555 on your cellphone.

Another reminder if you are travelling on B.C. highways this summer is that the province’s new left-lane rules are now in effect.

If you are driving on a multi-lane highway where the posted speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour or greater, all drivers are required to stay to the right unless they are passing another vehicle. Other permitted exemptions include merging into a left lane or preparing to make a left-hand turn.

My final reminder for the summer months is to always consider ways you can reduce your water consumption. Many regions of B.C. are facing drought and water restrictions, including many irrigation districts here in the South Okanagan.

Reducing and changing your watering times to avoid hot sun, installing drought-tolerant landscaping and using more water-efficient bathroom appliances are just a few ways you reduce your water use.

I would like to take a moment to pass on a sincere thank-you. Throughout June and now in July I have been fortunate to have been invited to many enjoyable community events in Peachland, Summerland, Naramata and Penticton. Many of these events draw large crowds and are often enjoyed by families of all ages.

These community events share one thing in common: They are put on by volunteers, often with the support of local small business owners. For all of the volunteers and sponsors of the many festivals and community events, know that your efforts are appreciated and enjoyed by many. Thank you.

Dan Ashton is the Penticton MLA, representing Penticton, Naramata, Summerland and Peachland.