Artist Angie McIntosh, founder of the Penticton Plein Air Group, works on her canvas on the shores of Okanagan Lake at the city marine heritage park Thursday afternoon, just one of the kick-off events for the four-day Arts Rising Festival. Mark Brett/Western News

Vital community conversations

The Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen is hosting forums in Summerland and Osoyoos

What makes the South Okanagan a great place to live? What concerns do we have? What are the priorities to improve? How can we foster a sense of belonging and social connections among residents?

The Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen is hosting a community conversation to help local people explore these questions and more. This is your chance to connect with other residents and organizations in your area, and contribute ideas for making the South Okanagan an even better place to live.

“The trend over the past 20 years shows a jump in population. Since 1986, Penticton has experienced an increase in population by 36 per cent, while Summerland’s growth over the same period, is 41 per cent,” Kim English, CFSOS community development officer said. “In the conversation, we’ll ask what our communities are doing to foster belonging and ways to encourage deeper community involvement. There will be opportunity for people to share with others what projects they’re working on or would like to begin, and see if others would like to join in the idea”.

The community conversation will build on the findings from CFSOS’s 2015 and Vancouver Foundation’s 2016 provincial Vital Signs reports. Through small table discussions, you will have the opportunity to share what matters to you in your community; tell the stories of what you or others are doing to enrich your community; and share your thoughts on successes and opportunities for improvement.

“We would love to see newcomers and those with deep community roots join the conversation,” English said.

Connect with residents and organizations in your area while contribution ideas for making the South Okanagan a better place to live on Oct. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Summerland ORL meeting room at 9533 Main St. Another community conversation is taking place at the Sonora Community Centre in Osoyoos on Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. The events are free but organizers are requiring registration by sending your RSVP to