I just realized that I have been with the District of Lake Country for 2 years now. Time goes by very fast when one is busy. And we have been very busy. Last night I met with Council to talk about accomplishments and to look at the future as well. It was a very good discussion and I wish to share some points with the Community.

The feeling around the room was that we have established a firm foundation for future Councils through the creation of a vision for Lake Country. By approving a Corporate Business Plan, Council endorsed three main general objectives for the Community:

Put Lake Country on the map or, in other words, create a strong identity and awareness of our Community throughout BC and the rest of Canada;
Make Lake Country the best place to live in BC by creating a sustainable and vibrant Community;
Make the District the best place to work by creating an organization that is trusted and respected by Council and the Community.
These are not easy tasks to accomplish but we have strived to fulfill Council's vision and to assist our local government in moving forward on important issues and projects. As a resident of Lake Country, I too, with my family, desire the best for us and our family and I believe that Lake Country definitely fits the bill. In April we moved in the new Sage Glen subdivision on Chase Road and a couple of nights ago we, together with the other residents, celebrated our new life in an area that not only provides affordable housing but has been a successful attainable housing project thanks to the District's partnership with the Okanagan Foundation, whose purpose is helping a number of qualified families to purchase their first new home. It is all about building a Community.
Some of the things we have done are pretty self-explanatory. Let see what they are.
The two major Council priorities under Put Lake Country on the Map' are:

Community Branding; and
Town Centre Plan.
In addition, Council identified Community News as a major focus.

The District has completed the Community Branding priority. As a result we now have:

A new Logo and Brand;
Recognition by Canada Post of Lake Country as a Community;
A new Community Portal (website);
Advertising in strategic publications targeted at visitors of our valley;
Creation of marketing material;
Social Media Network Participation;
New Banners in the Town Centre;
New Tourism Signs in strategic locations.
Obviously, these efforts cannot remain an isolated phenomenon and we will need to work further on marketing the Community. However, these efforts have helped so far in focusing on the other two priorities. With respect to the Town Centre, although there is still much to be done, which is mostly dependent on market conditions, progress has been made and can be summarized as follows:

Numerous meetings with the landowners have been held and continue to be held with Council and staff. This is providing the landowners with more confidence that there is support from the District;
Meetings have been and are still held with potential buyers/developers to discuss opportunities and options. Just recently we met with a corporate group that has a signed purchase agreement with one of the landowners on Main Street and they are now working on identifying needs and draft a concept for discussion with the District;
Council approved a Development Permit for the construction of a TD Bank. Work has begun and construction is progressing;
Council has given three readings to the McPhearson rezoning proposal on the south-east side of Main Street and is waiting for Ministry of Transportation approval.
In addition, Council and staff have been working in fostering further Community News and tourism. Some of the things that have happened are:

The creation of an Economic Planning & Development Committee, to provide advice to Council on Community News matters;
Meetings of staff with various developers to further plans for current land identified for growth under the OCP. Some of these meetings have moved to development applications such as the rezoning of the AMG site on Oceola Road (Turtle Bay Crossing Commercial development), the redevelopment of the Oyama Sawmill site (an application is forthcoming), the advancement of the McCoubrey Plateau Neighbourhood Plan study, whose final drafting should be ready for Council review in the next month or so, the Lakestone development, the Turtle Bay Campground, the rezoning of the Royston property on Chase Road for attainable housing just to cite a few;
The creation of a District Staff Community News Working Group, to move along Community News decisions;
Increased partnership with the Chamber of Commerce through a current review of the Visitor Information Centre services and direct participation to the Chamber Tourism Committee;
The creation of the Okanagan Indian Band and District Working Group, which meets monthly to discuss mutual Community News opportunities;
The creation of a District Staff Agriculture Community News Working Group, to further advance the District's Agricultural Plan and related economic growth opportunities.
All of this just in two years. But it is not all. Stay tuned for more information to come in the next few days.