In the slowly but surely category a number of items that we have been working on are going forward. One such item was to acquire the ownership of our downtown parks. The application for a sponsored ownership grant for these lands has been completed and has been filed. This process may take quite a long time but it will never happen unless the process is started and actually followed.
Speaking of following, proper process the transfer to the District of the old Tolko lands is still in the works and much progress has been made. A few years ago it was announced locally that the province would just simply be turning the property over to the District. Anyone that knew the process of these transfers knew that this would never happen and, of course, it didn’t. When the inevitable delays started, so did the blame game. There was much finger pointing as to who was to blame. Sadly our local MLA of the day and various Ministers as well as senior staff were accused of not doing enough for Barriere.
Luckily Kevin Krueger and Terry Lake were and are not only seasoned politicians but intelligent people. Through all the emails, letters and public statements around their supposed lack of interest in helping Barriere, they simply went to work and got the process started. Staff was assigned to the task and through their hard work the lands will eventually be transferred to the District of Barriere.
It is my opinion that it is best to work with the other orders of government than to try and bully them into giving you what you want. Strong respectful relationships and partnerships are the key to continued success for all concerned.
The Communities In Bloom judges have come to town and have gone on to judge other communities. This year our judges were Yvette May and Michelle Rule. Ms. May was here as a judge last year and Ms. Rule visited Barriere as a Kelowna councillor when Barriere hosted the Southern Interior Local Government Association conference a few years ago.
As in years past, the local committee put on a welcoming barbeque that, considering the warm weather, was well attended. The next day Councillor Virginia Smith and Barb MacManus took the judges on the official tour. The tour included a visit to the local bike park which drew rave reviews. Thanks to those at the bike park that put such a great effort into making the judges and their escorts feel welcome. Along with the expected garden visits, another stop was at Gilbert Smith sawmill and once again everyone there showed just how friendly we are here in Barriere.
As she has done in the past, Barb MacManus hosted the judges at her home. I want to give Barb my personal thanks for this, as her hospitality goes a long way to making the judges feel welcome. Barb, Virginia and I hosted the send off breakfast for the judges on their final day. It was a most pleasant experience.
The District of Barriere fully supports Communities In Bloom (CiB) and what it brings to our community. The competition aspect gives us a chance to showcase just how great all the aspects of our community are. Any shortfalls are identified and can be corrected as much as we can year after year. This is not just about flowers, the community as a whole is evaluated. Evaluation includes everything from how close we are following our Official Community plan to what sort of an economic development mandate we have created. Sometimes communities get too focused on constructing buildings and creating new programs to be able to step back and check that what is happening is really what the community needs and wants. Programs such as CiB allow us to get an independent evaluation of our efforts as a community and as a Council.
On the topic of the efforts of the community, many thanks to Mr. Eldon Law and the folks at our local PetroCan/A&W restaurant for moving up the date for their revamp of the perimeter landscaping around their property so that it could be completed prior to the CiB judges visit. It looks great!