• Friday , 25 November 2022

From the Mayor’s Desk: Splash pad restroom and SILGA 2022

Mayor Cindy Fortin and Minister Cullen.

Mayor Cindy Fortin

Hello fellow Peachlanders,

It sure has been nice to take off our masks and enjoy the intermittent sunny spring weather and smell the fresh air. It’s also great to be able to see the full faces of our friends and families.

As the COVID restrictions lift, other parts of the world are struggling with things that are much worse than mask wearing. Our hearts and thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the horrors they are facing. I would like to work within our community to find people who can open their homes to host Ukrainian refugees. Please give it some thought. You can contact me at mayorfortin@peachland.ca or call 250 212 9416. I am also looking for organizations/people that can help with this. If you aren’t following my Facebook account of “Mayor Cindy Fortin”, please “friend” me as I will be sharing more information about this on there. Even if you can’t host a family there are other things that we can all do.

On a different topic, I wanted to talk about what has become known as “the ugly green restroom by the splash pad”, and the cost to build stairs or a ramp. There have been a lot of comments out there, and I think it’s safe to say that general public is not happy with the look, or cost, of them. Council is not thrilled about it either. We make decisions based on the information we receive at the time, and I don’t think anyone expected the product we ended up with. Having said that, all of council has to own the decisions they made a while back and work to remedy it.

The difficult part is, if the money for the stairs or ramp is not approved by the budget deadline that is coming up next week, the use of the splash pad would have had to be delayed for possibly another year. What we all did agree on is that we should continue to work with Interior Health to see if we convince them to not require us to have a restroom there for this year. That would allow us to open the splash pad, and for us to find an alternative to these washrooms. I still feel that we need more than just the one two-stall restroom that is across the road, for safety reasons. As our population continues to grow the number of people – particularly children – having to use the restroom has also grown.  It’s not as safe to have to cross the road than it is to have them in the park. One stall for women, one stall for men across the street, is just not enough – not on a warm and sunny summer day.

The cost has also gone up, but I think we’ve all seen how COVID and other factors have contributed to a crazy increase in home values and construction costs. Another factor is the shortage of contractors and their employees. Whether we are happy with the increased costs or not, they will not get any less expensive the longer we wait.

If it turns out that we can sell them, we will find a better alternative. We are working on it.

The Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA)… This year’s SILGA conference in Salmon Arm was the first in-person one since SILGA 2019 in Penticton.

SILGA provides an opportunity to represent your community, discuss important local issues, advocate, network, and share solutions. Some of the topics of the conference included: Climate Change and Health; Lessons Learned from Wildfire Seasons in B.C.; Wildfire Risk Reduction; Attainable Housing; and more.
Delegates voted on number resolutions to go to UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) that included: Family Physician Funding and Physician Retention; Local Government having Legislative Input in Forest Cutting Permits; Criminal Justice Reform for Repeat Offenders; RCMP Cost Sharing; and more.

One of the speakers was the Honourable Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs, who covered a multitude of topics, including: Wildfires and Floods, Watershed Security, Climate Change, RCMP costs, the sentencing of repeat offenders, Council Code of Conduct, and other local government issues.

We also had an address by Her Honour Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of B.C., as well as our local MLA, Dan Ashton, who is also the Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs. The keynote speaker was Jesse Wente on “Dreaming Our Future: Storytelling and Healing Our Way Forward”. Wente is a member of the Serpent River First Nation (Ontario), and is a writer, broadcaster, speaker and arts administrator. In 2018 he was named the founding director of the Indigenous Screen Office, and in 2020 was appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. He held a captivated audience at SILGA with his words and storytelling.

The Central Okanagan Regional District (RDCO) – on which I sit as a Board Director — won one of the Excellence Awards for “Environmental Sustainability” for our Flood Mitigation Planning.

The conference wrapped up with some words by Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming announcing that next year SILGA 2023 will be held in Vernon.
Enjoy the springtime, and I will talk with you soon.

Mayor Cindy.

 

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