I would like to begin this week by recognizing all of the current and former members of the Penticton Fire Department for achieving a historic milestone of 100 years of service to the community.
The good work that firefighters do in all of our communities is important.
Recently, the B.C. government expanded the firefighters’ occupational disease regulations so that firefighters who develop esophageal cancer can more easily qualify for benefits under the Workers Compensation Act.
It is important to recognize the hazards involved in firefighting and I hope you will all join me in saying thank you to the many firefighters who help keep our communities safe.
On a different but important theme is the recently released British Columbia lumber export figures for the month of May.
In the period from January to May of 2011, B.C. exported 2.8 million cubic meters of lumber to China.
This figure has roughly doubled over this time last year.
In fact, B.C. lumber exports to China have now, for the first time ever, actually surpassed our lumber exports to the United States.
There has been much discussion over the efforts of the past five years to increase trade within the Asia Pacific marketplace.
This result is encouraging news that those efforts are now paying off.
Wood and wood related technology is being pioneered all across British Columbia including new products from Penticton based Structurlam Industries.
If you have access to the Internet, search out Xlam earthquake test.
It is very encouraging to see the advancements taking place in the B.C. lumber industry and how that creates jobs in regions all across B.C.
The new Okanagan College Centre for Excellence will also complement the industry well in offering educational opportunities working with wood and sustainable building practices and technologies.
This new centre in itself is an achievement that residents of this area can be very proud of.
Two more gaming related funding announcements to pass on this week, both the Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association and the Rotary Okanagan International Children’s Festival received gaming grant funds this week.
I would also like to recognize Carl Walton and Gord Osland respectively for the amount of volunteer work they have done on behalf of these organizations and in obtaining these grants.
There are many more hardworking volunteers in all kinds of different community organizations in every community across our province. All do good work and help keep our citizens vibrant and active.
Also a reminder that the HST referendum deadline to submit your ballot has been extended to Aug. 5.
If you have not yet received a voting package, please be advised that the dealing to request a package is Friday, July 22.
To receive a package please contact Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683 (toll-free)
Bill Barisoff is the MLA for Penticton.