Water, education and wildfires topics for Lake Country at UBCM

Council members are heading to UBCM next week

District of Lake Country council members are heading to the Union of BC Municipalities next week to discuss issues with wildfires, drinking water and education.

Coun. Todd McKenzie and Mayor James Baker will be meeting with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Climate Change and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

As the district experienced the devastating wildfire on Nighthawk Road last summer, it is is requesting the province to develop a simplified, streamlined grant process which will be open to municipalities and the public to be able to hire trainer personnel to complete fire mitigation work.

“Private property owners found mitigation work beyond their capacity both physically and financially,” according to a Lake Country briefing note.

READ MORE: A year after the Okanagan Centre wildfire, Lake Country residents return home

The council members will also be asking the Ministry of Education about a new elementary school.

“The District of Lake Country is experiencing rapid and sustained growth, particularly in the Lakestone/McCoubrey Plateau development areas in the south-west of the district with almost 4,000 new homes projected,” a separate report said.

All three of the district’s elementary schools are over capacity, and the report said a site for the new school is best to be identified sooner than later, in order to accomadate student growth.

READ MORE: Lake Country to get new middle school: Premier

The recommendation from district staff is to place it in the Lakestone/McCoubrey Plateau development areas.

The district also will be presenting issues with the protection of drinking water.

A briefing document notes that while drinking water falls under Interior Health’s authority and water licensing in under the ministry’s jurisdiction, there is “no lead agency on water,” so it will request the province to clarify how it fits within the province and Crown lands, as well as request higher funding at the provinicial level for source water protection.

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