By ROY WOOD
Linda Larson will seek re-election next May, the MLA indicated last night.
Ms. Larson “dropped by” Town of Oliver Council Tuesday to provide an update on various provincial issues with an invitation from Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes.
Ms. Larson, a former Oliver councillor and mayor, was greeted warmly by members of council. She conceded she wasn’t really sure what council was expecting, so she fell back on some of the talking points that will likely make their way into next spring’s provincial election campaign.
That included a provincial/national park for the South Okanagan.
Ms. Larson said the process of assessing the public input on the proposed national park for the South Okanagan continues apace.
Referring to the process begun last fall by Environment Minister Mary Polak, Ms Larson said it was intended for “individuals who live here” to comment on the province’s proposal for a park. But, she said, people “from all over the world” made submissions.
Ms. Larson said the input from outside the area has been “put aside and acknowledged.” The next step is or the ministry to go back and talk to the locals.
“First and foremost (is) to listen to the people who live here,” she said.
The Boundary-Similkameen Liberal member also mentioned:
- The BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint, designed to streamline the process of getting students from high school into non-academic job training and apprenticeships. She said some 58,000 people have gone through the Find Your Fit program, which aims to get students started in a suitable trade with less trial and error;
- The Single Parent Employment Initiative, which funds training and work experience for single mothers and fathers who are receiving income or disability assistance. Some 2,500 people have managed to get off assistance programs as a result, she said;
- Aboriginal youth have been the recipient of about $11 million as part of a program aimed at getting them into trades training and apprenticeships; and
- Locally, she said, the province has provided more than $400,000 over the past two years in grants to community organizations over the past two years, she said.
Ms. Larson told Council she would be seeking re-election May 7, 2017, when the next provincial election is held. She was first elected in May 2013.