West Kelowna man gathers over 14K signatures supporting urgent care centre

After nine years of work, collecting over 14,500 signatures, John Burke handed his petition for an urgent care centre to Westside council.

John Burke spent nine years gathering over 14

After nine years of work, collecting more than 14,500 signatures, John Burke has decided it’s time to put his ammunition in the hands of West Kelowna council.

The president of the Okanagan Public Support Organization arrived at council chambers Tuesday to hand over a petition in favour of an urgent care facility in West Kelowna.

“Use it to your advantage in obtaining an emergency centre here,” Burke told council. “We need it very much in this area.”

Burke said that his activism has had to take the back seat while he addresses some health concerns.

“I have to slow down. I’ve been too involved in too many different things; it’s time I step back a bit,” said Burke.

“I feel that the petition will assist council in working toward the emergency centre that they’re trying to obtain.”

Burke is encouraged by a recent announcement that the district is working to investigate options for the possible creation of a Westside health facility, which may include a third party partnership.

“I hope the partnership goes through, it will give us something here to hope for.”

Mayor Doug Findlater was appreciative of Burke’s work.

“Over the years, I remember seeing you sitting in parking lots with a table, signing people up for this,” Findlater said to Burke during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This is a council that won’t give up on this issue. We are very determined to pursue this. . .your petition may be very helpful.”

Coun. Rick de Jong also told Burke that he wants to see West Kelowna get an emergency care facility.

“I just want to assure you, from my personal stance, the need for a medical facility of some sort here on the Westside remains a top priority; I shall continue to do whatever I can to bring this to fruition,” said de Jong.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com