Services & amenities often overlooked

This week I spent Thanksgiving Monday travelling back to Ottawa. Along the way between Okanagan-Coquihalla and our nation’s capital I met many travellers who were either returning home or on the way to visit with family. Although travelling can be a weary experience it can also be a rewarding one to meet with Canadians from so many different locations and hear thoughts, ideas and concerns for the events and challenges we collectively face. As Parliament returns this week for what will be the second session of this 41st Parliament it will be a very busy week of briefings, meetings and the highlight of the week will be the Speech from the Throne occurring on Wednesday when our Government will lay out the agenda and related priorities for the upcoming second session of Parliament.

With the House of Commons back in session, my extended summer listening tour will also be concluding and I am extremely grateful for the many citizens who took the time to offer input and share ideas on a range of different and important subjects. Although there are often legislative reasons why some ideas cannot move forward, I am encouraged that I have received some very good suggestions to further research and if viable, can be presented for possible implementation. I have also had the chance to meet with a number of local groups who are currently planning some valuable community projects that we are currently exploring funding options for. Many of these projects are related to improving accessibility and in some cases will also enhance the livability of our region. This in my view is very important.

Although often there is discussion in economic terms on the importance of resource related jobs and manufacturing locally in the Okanagan, we should not also overlook that there is a vibrant service related industry that caters to the growing number of citizens who choose to retire or otherwise relocate here. Why I believe it is important that we not overlook this segment of our local economy is because of the fact that if we can increase the livability of our region through increased accessibility through more efficient transit that includes an improved trails network and more public walking paths we can also encourage a more vibrant and healthy lifestyle. Enhanced arts and cultural opportunities can also be strong factors in bringing more citizens to the Okanagan and also increasing the diversity of our local citizens. In turn all of these factors also help generate increased small business activities and also creates more employment.

How do we achieve these things? We have much to be thankful for in the Okanagan and at the same time, we also have many groups and citizens throughout our region who have identified projects that overall will benefit our region. At times it can be easy to oppose some of these projects and ideas if it is not something we may use personally however expanding our thinking to the overall betterment of our region will pay dividends to us all.

I mention many of these points as I have noted that many local initiatives that were initially quite controversial and at times actively opposed by some groups within a community, these projects have largely gone on to become community success stories that in many cases enhance the livability and diversity of our region. Throughout the communities of Okanagan-Coquihalla and the surrounding areas there are currently a number of projects, ideas and proposals currently in various stages of planning. I believe if we keep an open mind to the overall benefit of how we can increase the livability of our region we can continue to attract a diversity of new citizens that it turn can help grow our small business community in a sustainable manner. Promoting livability through increased events in recreational and cultural endeavours that are accessible to all citizens can in turn encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.

If you have ideas or concerns on these or any topic please do not hesitate to give me a call. I can be reached at 1-800-665-8711 or via email at [email protected]

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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