Since being elected, local MLAs Steve Thomson, Ben Stewart, and I have worked closely with local leaders and constituents to identify our priorities for capital projects in the community.
This process has been open and transparent, and we’ve received a lot of valuable input in key areas, such as transportation, education and health care.
These issues matter in our community. They keep life affordable. They keep our families healthy and educated.
I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. There have been significant upgrades recently to the local transportation network.
On Highway33, this includes four-laning the highway, from Muir Road to Gallagher Road, as well as constructing two kilometres of passing lane on Walker Hill.
On Highway 97, improvements include the William R. Bennett Bridge and building the UBCO flyover.
We’re also adding a new four-lane stretch from Winfield to Oyama —a project which is on budget and scheduled to be completed in June 2013.
These projects make our community a more attractive place to invest, lower the cost of doing business, and make life more convenient by reducing travel time and making the roads safer for us all.
We’ve invested in local post-secondary institutions, including $222 million for capital projects at UBC Okanagan and $92.7 million at Okanagan College, ensuring our residents have the tools they need to find a job.
There have also been many important health care capital projects, with the $367 million Interior Heart and Surgical Centre and the $432.5 million Kelowna General Hospital Patient Care Tower, which had its first helicopter land on March 28 of this year.
With over $1.5 billion invested in the central Okanagan since 2001, these examples only scratch the surface of what we’ve accomplished.
These projects were possible thanks to close cooperation with our partners in the community: MP Ron Cannan, area mayors and councils, school district trustees, members of the hospital district board, and, of course, Kelowna residents.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for your service to the community, helping us achieve our common vision and goals for the people of our community.
We have accomplished a tremendous amount with our partners in the community, yet there is much which remains to be done.
MLAs Thomson, Stewart, and I are currently canvassing our local residents and community leaders to identify priorities for our region.
I look forward to what we can achieve as we move forward together with one strong, united voice.
Norm Letnick is the Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country and the minister of agriculture.