From the Mayor’s Desk: Onwards and upwards!

Dear Peachlanders:

Good things are underway in our community!

You’ve probably noticed the seniors housing building going up at a rapid speed. While it is a few months behind schedule, due to the extended winter weather, it is well on its way to providing 74 rental units for our valued senior community. Those people age 55 or older, or with disabilities, can apply.

It is expected to open in early 2019. Rental applications will be available starting April 6th through to early August. You can pick them up at the District office or the Wellness Centre on 5th Street. However, they must all be dropped off at the Wellness Centre where each one will be reviewed.

Don’t worry if you don’t hear back right away. We expect the process to take several weeks, maybe longer.  There will be a lot of applications to sift through.

We also received tremendous news recently – a $4.9 million grant for the Trepanier Interconnect. This will cover the cost to connect Trepanier Creek water users to the new water treatment plant from its first day of operation.

So instead of having to long term borrow over $9 million, that number is cut by more than half. We are incredibly fortunate to have received two significant grants over the last year — the first one being a $6.9 million grant toward the cost of building the treatment plant, and now this second grant that is expected to fully cover the Trepanier Interconnect.

Just to go over the numbers… the cost of the treatment plant is approximately $18.8 million. Add to that the $4.9 million Trepanier Interconnect, for a total of $23.7 million. Subtract from that our two grants that total $11.8 million, as well as the $7.6 million that has been saved up in Reserves for the treatment plant, and we are left with about $4.3 million for long term borrowing. (The payments for that loan will be covered by existing parcel taxes, and not by increasing property taxes.)

We certainly owe a special “Thank you” to our MP Dan Albas and MLA Dan Ashton for their continued support and advocacy on our behalf to the higher levels of government, for this and other local projects.

On another subject, don’t forget that Civic Awards night is coming up on May 4th.  “May the fourth be with you!” It is expected to be another fun and entertaining event as the District of Peachland recognizes members of the community who contribute to, and help to make, our community the amazing place it is.

This will be the first year the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Change will present a special Green Citizen award.

I hope to see you there!

More good news … we are also paving the large Second Street gravel parking lot behind the Edgewater. We hope to have it done by the May long weekend. Not only will it be paved, but also painted with lines that will better delineate parking spots, in order to stop the haphazard parking and increase the number of parking spaces. There will also be improved lighting, a loading space for delivery trucks (that will hopefully reduce the number of times the alley way “Waldo Way” is blocked), and I’m am thrilled that we will also have an electric vehicle EV Charging Station with two outlets.

Lastly, I’d like to let you know about two special events I’ve attended in recent days.

Our Peachland Council and Westbank First Nation Council got together for a special “Community to Community Forum” last week. These province-wide C2C forums are a joint initiative of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and the First Nations Summit (FNS).

They bring together First Nations and local governments to discuss common goals and opportunities for joint action. So far more than 600 C2C Forums have been held in communities across the province.

The joint meetings are a great way to building relationships, understanding, trust, and better communication. Both Peachland’s and WFN’s Councils will be discussing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our two communities at upcoming Council meetings. Once that is done, we will get together with each other again for a formal signing.

I also attended a day long Okanagan Nation Alliance Syilx Water Forum “Connecting to the Land” last Thursday. We toured around the Central Okanagan, stopping at Mission Creek in Kelowna, Hardy Falls in Peachland, the En’owkin Centre in Penticton, the Fish Hatchery, Penticton Oxbow Restoration project, and Residential School Memorial.

All along the way were fortunate to have knowledge keepers share the history and ceremonies of their people at the various locations. It was a very enlightening experience. One of the poignant messages: “Water is our connection, water is our reflection, water is what helps us continue on.”

Until next time…

Best regards,

Mayor Cindy Fortin

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