Many members of the public have noticed and continue to notice a flurry of activity in Lake Country. The new Council has been very busy and there seems to be no slowing down in sight. A number of residents have asked me to provide a summary of what is happening and I am very happy to do so.

ARENA ICE SHEET:

In the last couple of years we have noticed a deterioration of the ice sheet at the Arena. After reviewing the sheet conditions it was established that it has come to the end of its life. We have been working with our budget to find funding sources that can accommodate this project and we were able to fund all of it through Gas Tax funds and Reserves. The total cost is $1.5 million and the project was tendered about a week ago. Once the contract is awarded, we will work to coordinate the project and communicate to users and the general public the period of closure that will be necessary to complete the works. We are aiming to begin works in the Spring, so the last day for ice users will be March 31, and more details will be provided soon.

PELMEWASH PARKWAY ACQUISITION:

We continue to negotiate the acquisition of the Pelmewash Parkway from the Province. We have met with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in the last few months with the intent to come to an agreement on the conditions the parkway should be when handed down to the District. Both parties recognize we work on different standards and so we are trying to find a solution that will satisfy everyone and bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. The ball is the Ministry's court as they are finalizing a number of documents we need to establish the levels of servicing needed once the road is transferred. Without those documents it will be hard to establish future maintenance costs and the level of budgeting needed to take care of this new asset. The Ministry has indicated that the documents should be available by the end of March. Once we receive them, we will review them and then meet with provincial staff again to move the negotiations forward.

PARKS AND RECREATION MASTERPLAN:

This is the number one priority of Council. In the last few years we have been focusing on the completion of the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) which is the foundation of all other master plans in the community. Now that the ICSP has been completed, we can move forward with the other plans. The Parks and Recreation Master Plan is a priority and has been for some time. This plan will address future needs of the community and the use of the Greenspace along the lakes. In addition, it will help us define the level of service for our parks and recreational amenities. There will be extensive consultation with the public and also opportunities to address new neighbourhood parks and recreational needs as well as the recreation and social area where the Arena is located. We are tendering the study and we will let the public know as soon as the work starts.

CN CORRIDOR ACQUISITION:

Everybody knows about this one. The Alternative Approval Process failed and so now we have a Referendum in April. Most of the information is available (and has been for some time) on our web site at www.lakecountry.bc.ca, through the District's newspaper page, our staff, council members, and a number of other means. The Referendum date is April 25th, but there will be advance voting opportunities in the various wards before that date. Information is available as mentioned before, but you can contact the Municipal Hall during business hours, Monday to Friday at 250-766-5650 if you need more information or clarification on any of the proceedings or the actual acquisition.

COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT:

Work is underway on Main Street with the building of some new commercial buildings. The Callahan's Group has been working hard all winter to get some buildings ready as soon as possible. All those who travel through Main Street have noticed the change. It is no mystery that one of the buildings will accommodate a new Shoppers Drug Mart. The foundations and construction of a new bank has also begun (no, it is not a bank that is already in Lake Country). Now, on Main Street, there is one more piece of land that is not sold to a developer yet but we hope it happens soon.

The other commercial development that has begun is located on Oceola and Highway 97. It is the former AGM site and people travelling by are noticing that the site is being prepared with a retaining wall on the south of the property being the priority. This has been a project long in the making and we are pleased that it is going ahead.

The Lakes and Lakestone projects are progressing. While The Lakes is almost at the end of the whole development cycle, Lakestone is somewhat at the beginning. It is interesting to watch it progress. The area is beautiful and attractive, and people are looking to move there because of the natural beauty and the Lake Country Okanagan Way lifestyle.

There is much more going on. The fact is that Lake Country is busy. It is indeed the fastest growing municipality in BC and people, whether they wish to live, shop, or recreate here, have taken notice even more than in the past.

Yes, it is indeed Lake Country Life the Okanagan Way.

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