Okanagan MLAs flooded with funding feedback

A bid by the Central Okanagan’s three MLAs to find out where the provincial government should allocate capital spending here has attracted 300 responses in the first week.

Last week, a four-page flyer outlining the request for input from MLAs Norm Letnick, Steve Thomson and Ben Stewart was delivered to each household in Kelowna and Lake Country.

With limited provincial resources available, the MLAs want to know which capital projects the public wants them to lobby for.

The flyer lists 17 projects and the MLAs want to hear what the public’s top five are.

The projects listed include Highway 33 revitalization, a strategic transportation plan, more regional parks, a new road between Glenmore and Highway 97, a replacement of Rutland Middle School, improvement of the intersection at Highway 97 and Sexsmith Road, a business case for a convention centre here, water quality improvements, a new Kelowna tourism centre, more sidewalks and cycle paths, a replacement of the Centennial Hall in Rutland, affordable housing, a new elementary school in West Kelowna, funding for wildlife mitigation, money for tourism promotion, a Glenmore recreation facility and heritage funding. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31.

All three MLAs have more information and submission forms available on their websites and at their offices.

Letnick, who announced the input gathering exercise in December during an address to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce along with Thomson, said he is happy with the initial response but wants to see a lot more.

He said the list can be added to if anyone feels there are important projects not included on the list. The MLAs quietly launched their initiative last summer by contacting community leaders to get their input before going public. It was from those discussions that the list of projects was compiled.

The call for input has been extended to the residents of Letnick’s and Thomson’s ridings (Kelowna-Lake Country and Kelowna-Mission), as well as the Kelowna residents living in Stewart’s Westside-Kelowna riding.

Letnick said while there is a West Kelowna project on the list and others could be added, Stewart plans to do something different in the West Kelowna section of his riding to gather public input.

The Kelowna-Lake Country MLA said while the trio will not stop supporting any project on the list, having the public tell them which ones are priorities will help them know which ones to lobby for in Victoria.

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