Building a sustainable future for Central Okanagan

Last week, the provincial government announced that it would spend more than $15.9 million to boost the local economy, build stronger infrastructure and create parks and green spaces.

This announcement is great news for Kelowna area residents who can look forward to improved quality of life thanks to these community improvements as well as the jobs these projects bring for our residents.

One of the largest projects is to improve wastewater treatment reliability in the Central Okanagan Regional District.

Improvements to wastewater treatment will ensure that Okanagan Lake remains environmentally protected, so that the districts of Peachland, West Kelowna and the Westbank First Nations can continue enjoying clean, safe beachfronts.

In addition, the Wood Lake Water System will receive large upgrades to the water system with improvements to boost water quality and supply, benefitting approximately 2,400 Lake Country residents.

Our growing communities, economic development, healthy food, clean energy and our beautiful environment need a very large amount of clean water.

To sustain this, a very exciting web-based pilot project will be implemented to improve water use and help the province meet its Living Water Smart Goals.

This project will serve 350,000 and be a model for water use reporting throughout British Columbia. We know that we have to carefully manage our water to ensure this precious resource is available for everyone.

It is through test projects like this that we will keep B.C.’s water healthy and secure for our future.

Another important project will be to develop seven more parks throughout Kelowna. $3.3 million will help create new green spaces so that residents and visitors can enjoy more recreation and leisure facilities in our beautiful city.

By providing people with high quality, safe outdoor recreation we are encouraging sustainable active living that also protects the natural environment.

We realize that it is important for our residents to live in a place where industry is strong, but where the environment remains as natural and developed as sustainably as possible.

By increasing safety for our residents, improving water quality, and developing a greener environment, our residents will continue to enjoy a competitive economy as our region continues to grow.

British Columbia and the federal government are investing more than $719 million towards community infrastructure projects throughout B.C. to promote strong, sustainable, competitive and livable communities.

There are also many more projects yet to be approved as we work to leverage every possible dollar to benefit our citizens.

The investments the province has made since launching the Economic Action Plan have already created an estimated 21,600 jobs and with this latest announcement we are succeeding in our three-year job creation strategy to build confidence and keep British Columbians working.

Working collaboratively to bring funding to these vital projects helps communities remain strong and competitive as B.C. emerges from this economic downturn.

Steve Thomson is the Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Mission.