It seems spring has come about two weeks early so we will keep our fingers crossed that no sudden cold spells damage the incredible blossom we can see everywhere.
With spring also comes road work, and as sections of Highway 97 in the South Okanagan are due for resurfacing, we can expect the usual delays and frustrations. Please obey the signs and be mindful of the safety of the crews on the road.
Recently announced civil forfeiture grants (proceeds of crime) will benefit two organizations in Boundary-Similkameen.
Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre will receive $9,000 for a specialized two-day training session for rural front-line workers in the anti-violence sector and other sectors on the impact of violence and how best to support victims seeking help. The project will also include a community presentation on violence against women.
The Boundary Women’s Coalition in Grand Forks will receive $20,000 to support its programs for youth aged 13 to 18 who may be or are at risk of being sexually exploited. This project uses a multi-agency approach utilizing RCMP Victim Services, the Transition House, the Children of the Streets Society and other community agencies to address and prevent drug-facilitated sexual assaults.
Congratulations to Sandra Oldfield and the 11 wineries of the Golden Mile Bench on attaining a specific wine region designation. It has taken many years and lots of science-related work to attain the region designation. The labelling will identify to all wine fans that the wine from the Golden Mile is consistent in quality and excellence.
It is interesting to note that from the B.C. Wine Institute Annual Report that almost 70 per cent of all red vinifera grapes are grown in the South Okanagan/Similkameen (50 per cent in Oliver alone).
April is also cancer awareness and fundraising month so please be generous when a canvasser calls on you, or put your donation toward any number of events happening this month.
There are always special birthdays and anniversaries throughout the year and I could never mention them all. However, I would like to wish Kathy Jacobs a happy 103rd birthday this month. She is now a resident of Sunnybank but for many years was also a member of the Sunnybank Auxiliary and was the boss of the bake sale table at the Auxiliary Teas until she turned 100. Our communities are blessed with many volunteers like Kathy.
As always, I continue to focus on issues that relate to accessibility for all people with disabilities. I would like to thank Dan Bauer for his past work on Vancouver Island in developing park and trail guides that focus on areas accessible for all who have mobility issues. His new project is to develop the same for the Okanagan and to that end, he tries to visit wineries, hotels, motels and tourism destinations to find the businesses that have made the extra effort to be accessible to all.
Congratulations to Liquidity, which gets top marks from Dan for accessibility. I will continue to shine a light on those businesses that have made it possible for everyone to enjoy what they have to offer.
Finally, this is the time of year when communities recognize the volunteers that make our small towns the best places to live. The Spirit of Oliver Awards go this year to Kenzie Harrington, Yvonne Moore and the Oliver Food Bank. Thank you all for the unselfish volunteering you do, and congratulations to volunteers being recognized throughout the Boundary/Similkameen.
Linda Larson is the MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. She is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility to the Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, and a member of the Cabinet Committee on Secure Tomorrow.