Good deeds and challenges

This year is off to a busy start with a ton of activity across our snow-covered city.

The new year began with the birth of Kelowna’s newest resident, welcomed into this world at 3:58 am at Kelowna General Hospital.

Although the holidays have passed, the season of giving has continued with Access Dental providing free checkups for children. Other charitable acts included a cold dip in the lake for the annual polar bear dip raising $15,000, supporting people with special needs, Mama’s for Mama’s providing $500 per month for groceries to a family in need and to top off the Central Okanagan Food Bank’s fundraising activity, the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation donated an additional $30,000 helping (the food bank’s drive) reach $417,583.

So much good is done in our community, but there are many challenges faced by our residents. We are facing the fourth highest rate for a two-bedroom rental in the country, behind Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. Our average income per household is just over $105,000, making it challenging for many to rent, let alone purchase a home.

We are facing the highest food costs of our time, a job market that doesn’t reflect our cost of living and a rental vacancy rate of 1.2%, leaving many unable to find a home for their growing families.

Childcare has reached a crisis level, with waitlists spanning years, daycare closures and support programs such as Starbright losing its funding leaving many families scrambling for care and unable to return to work.

Increasing interest rates, the highest overdose rate in our city’s history and cyberattacks on our educational institutions have created a perfect storm of frustration for many of our city’s residents.

Our city continues to evolve. From the small beach town, we grew up into one of the most popular destinations in Canada. In January, 800 students graduated from Okanagan College creating new opportunities for themselves and growth for our community.

The return of Monster Trucks was saw inspiring for all ages, creating excitement at Prospera Place similar to what we saw when (Regina Pats hockey play and top prospect) Conner Bedard came to the packed arena to play our Kelowna Rockets.

What didn’t change in January was Team Canada finishing the World Juniors as the best in the world showcasing our country and cities talents.

Finally B.C.’s own groundhog, Van Isle Violet, saw her shadow signalling six more weeks of winter. So hang in there everyone, spring will be here in no time.

Indy Dhial, Kelowna

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