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West Kelowna mayor, council meeting with B.C. ministers at UBCM

This year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention is taking place in Whistler.
This year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention is taking place in Whistler. UBCM

Education, health care and the housing speculation tax. Those were three items West Kelowna’s council reportedly discussed with B.C. government officials on Tuesday.

This week, Whistler is playing host to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, an annual gathering of provincial, city and town officials. During the week, B.C. ministers have short meetings with mayors and councillors, who often press the provincial government for more funding on a variety of issues.

Case in point would be West Kelowna’s desire for a second high school.

West Kelowna says it has experienced an average yearly growth of 1.95 per cent since 2006, and the student population in its area will increase by 1,122 students by 2027 – which creates a capacity issue for the only secondary school on the Westside, that being Mount Boucherie Secondary School.

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West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater said Education Minister Rob Fleming “heard our plea for capital funding for a new senior secondary school. He said the numbers were certainly there. He also said that School District 23 has a very good reputation for these kinds of planning projects, which I am pleased to note.”

Also, and has been the case of years, West Kelowna again pressed the provincial government and Minister of Health Adrian Dix for a Westside health care centre.

“Minister Dix made it clear that there will be a primary care centre established somewhere in the Central Okanagan,” said Findlater. He said we are doing the right thing by continuing to advocate for the centre in our community, and he said he would like to hear from community groups as well. He also indicated that he would like to see doctors get involved and submit proposals.”

Lastly, Findlater said he and Kelowna mayor Colin Basran met with Green Party leader Andrew Weaver to discuss their opposition to the government’s proposed speculation tax.

“Mr. Weaver is very much on the same page as us,” said Findlater. “He knows this tax will hurt our community and he said he is going to vote accordingly when the matter is before him.”