Dishing up political conversation to keep park caretakers

"Elected officials in our community are more and more ignoring community concerns," organizer Nancy Holmes said, in the announcement.

Regional district park

A group of  Kelowna residents will be dishing up political discourse Thursday at a potluck dubbed the first Burbridge Dinner.

“Elected officials in our community are more and more ignoring community concerns,” organizer Nancy Holmes said, in the announcement.

“To that end, a small group is starting monthly community potluck dinners to dialogue and plan for action around the public good and local places. Our first topic is ‘Keep Caretakers in our Parks.’”

RELATED: PARK CARETAKERS ARE SEEING THE END TO A WAY OF LIFE

There are only seven parks in the Central Okanagan that still have a live-in caretaker.

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan runs the parks and its official stance is that these men and women are contractors who are expected to do a series of tasks in exchange for deeply reduced rents.

Top of that list, said district representatives, is opening and closing the gates. It’s a job they say can be done just as well by commissionaires and in the next few months the live in contractors will leave. The commissionaires have already taken over.

It’s a change in policy many have taken umbrage with and the dinner will help continue a conversation that’s been months long already.

The event is named after Jim and Joan Burbridge who helped save Woodhaven Nature Conservancy in the early 1970s and who stewarded the park over the next 30 years.

“We’d like to honour their legacy as effective, community-focussed citizens,” said Holmes.

“Those who would like to attend need only bring a  potluck dish that could feed four or five people. Also, bring a plate, a cup or glass, and a drink (non-alcoholic) though we’ll provide water, coffee and tea. We’ll have cutlery and serviettes and the use of a small warm-up kitchen,” reads the invitation.

“If you can donate anything to help cover the rental of the hall, that would be most welcome, but this is NOT essential.”

Please rsvp by noon tomorrow to nancyholmes.nh@gmail.com. Come prepared to just talk and add to the conversation or come prepared to jump in and do things!

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