The municipal election is over and the dust is settling. In Lake Country, the Mayor, James Baker, was re-elected and so two of the incumbent councillors, Penny Gambell (at Large) and Barbara Leamont (Carr's Landing). We also have four new councillors: Jamie McEwan (at Large), Rob Geier (Winfield), Owen Dickie (Oyama), and Lisa Cameron (Okanagan Centre). I congratulate the new elected Council and I am looking forward to the new term with them. I also wish to thank those who were not elected for their dedication and hard work. Each one of them brought a unique set of skills that provided good leadership and vision for the community.

What now? I would say: the future is now. There is much that needs to be done and the new Council will begin working immediately to understand their role, their function, and their responsibilities and to set the priorities for the next three years. On December 6th, the new Council will be sworn in and a number of orientation sessions will be held beginning next week. We will also hold a priority setting session at the beginning of December and an initial budget session. We do not waste our time at the District but we work hard to get things going.

One of the things we are working on is a business systems review with the purpose of streamlining our organization and operations and alleviate potential tax increases in the future. In addition, there are critical capital projects and plans that need to continue to be pursued. We have not heard from the province yet regarding our grant submission for the expansion of our sewer plant. The Regional District is contributing to the project but we cannot proceed without the bulk of the funds that could come only through a grant. Lodge Road design is near completion and we should be able to start the work in the spring of 2012. This is a much needed improvement that will benefit both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, especially the many students that walk that road during the school year. The province will contribute to the funding of the project and we made an application to ICBC for some money as well. The Water Master Plan will be discussed as part of the budget process as the model calls for fee increases in the next two years.

Then there is some important stuff that will need to be addressed. Boundary readjustments with the City of Kelowna and possibly more collaboration at the political and administrative levels between the City and the District; increase partnership opportunities with the Okanagan Indian Band through the provision of services and the implementation of economic and tourism development projects; and of course our Town Centre and the District Community News strategy.

On top of all of this, there are many other projects that are in progress and there is the day-to-day operational load. It is good to be busy and we welcome opportunities. Definitely, we will not be idle and the new Council will begin its work at a rapid pace. Again, the future is now for Lake Country.

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