Summer is finally here and our new Council has already been in office almost eight months. I can certainly say that those months have not been dull. Between bustling activities and major changes, the District seems to be on a roll. This is good especially in times of economic difficulties like those we are living through now.

One thing local governments do not do enough is celebrating accomplishments and reflecting upon them. Most of the time, we are busy doing things or responding to customer requests. As human beings we also tend to remember the negative things more than the positive ones. For some, in fact, this is so imbued in their personality that, no matter how good something is or how well done, they have to complain about something. Others, on the other end, are perfectionists and ask continuous questions on this and that trying to find something wrong in anything and everything (and if they do not find any, they will come up with something). Again it is human nature and it is very rare to find people that see positive, even in the face of difficult times. The reality is that it is easier to be negative than to be positive. In order to be positive we have to exert some effort, while being negative offers the path of least resistance. But positive things have happened in these last few months thanks to Council's vision and action.

The most important one, in my view, is not an infrastructure project or a specific service delivered well (I will get to those, by the way) but it is the Business Systems Review that began last year and concluded its first phase in April of this year. Not only has the organization changed (less staff, less departments, and more focus on customer service), but processes and procedures are reviewed with the intent of cutting red tape and make things easier for the taxpayers, residents, businesses and potential investors. I think it is important to acknowledge that: a) the funds we are saving from the cuts implemented through the reorganization will be used to increase our financial capacity to maintain our roads, parks and our entire infrastructure; b) the District processes and procedures are being reviewed and streamlined to provide a much better experience for all involved (on both sides of the counter). For instance, Council is in the process of approving the new Development Permit Application policy, which will use a more common sense approach by introducing a number of exceptions and substantially cut the timing for approval; and finally c) the "Review" is ongoing. Change will be a constant within the organization to always find ways to improve and make things better.

Major projects are also happening. Lodge Road is probably the most significant in terms of the impact in transportation and increased pedestrian safety. It will also improve the car driving experience along that road and Bottom Wood Lake Road and provide the foundation for further work along Lodge in future years. Yes, we did receive a few complaints about disrupting traffic and Transit Bus schedules but the reality is that there is no other way to build the road than closing it at times or having alternating traffic. The other thing is that this kind of work can only be done during the summer season, when traffic is less due to school closure. So we are making progress and The Calendar has also written about two other projects that are underway, Camp Road and Swalwell Park. Then there is also the continuous maintenance work that our road workers provide on a regular basis.

Another very significant project is the Kalamalka Lake Interconnector. Timed to be completed by the end of March 2013, this project will finally provide better water to Oyama residents. This is the first major project in the District's Water Master Plan and it will have a major positive impact on the residents that will benefit from the completion of this project.

Finally a few notes about Community News. It is a Council priority, especially when it comes to the development of the Town Centre. We now have a dedicated staff that will put together plans, market the community, and contact potential investors in different areas of the country and in different economic fields. We will continue to enhance the image of the community creating more awareness of Lake Country through our new brand and logo and we will continue to work with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association to improve our tools to assist local businesses with their tourism attraction efforts. The very good news is that Council will have a presentation from a potential developer on Main Street sometime in July.

Stay tuned and enjoy the beautiful Okanagan Summer.