Funding will protect B.C.’s heritage buildings

The community of Peachland is working to to renovate one of Peachland’s most iconic heritage buildings

This week the B.C. Legislature is adjourned and will resume sitting next Monday on March 26.

Although some citizens believe that Members of the Legislature only have duties when in Victoria, the reality is that work back home in our ridings is also very important and must not be overlooked.

One project that has been ongoing for quite some time in the community of Peachland is a community effort to renovate one of Peachland’s most iconic heritage buildings and redevelop it as a community services centre.

The renovated schoolhouse project once complete can offer a broad range of programs and services that promote healthy and active living for residents including children and youth.

This project also has the potential to promote tourism and learning opportunities on account of a large bat colony in the attic of the schoolhouse and due to the geographic location of the building will also tie in nicely with recent waterfront walkway improvements.

In summary this is an admirable community effort to not only protect a heritage building but in a manner that will continue to serve current and future generations of local residents.

This week I will be in Peachland to announce $400,000 in provincial funding under the Community Recreation Grant program in support of this important project.

This funding will assist with the removal and salvage of existing building materials and also to facilitate an exterior restoration that includes barrier-free accessibility.  Interior renovations will also include increased disability access and energy efficiency upgrades that include the installation of energy efficient lighting throughout.

Exterior site work includes xeriscape landscaping along with benches, picnic areas and enhanced lighting.

The completed project is one that will be a long term asset to the community and I look forward to this project finally moving forward.

Later this week I will also be announcing Community Recreational Grant funding for projects around Penticton and area that will enhance pedestrian connectivity and promote opportunities for citizens to get out and walk more frequently.

The success of the Peachland waterfront walkway project has demonstrated how government investment in creating pedestrian infrastructure can help to keep citizens of all ages more active and engaged in staying healthy.

On an different theme but one I know will be of interest to many senior drivers in the South Okanagan is recently announced changes to the DriveAble program.

For those of you unfamiliar with the DriveAble program, while it is relatively new to British Columbia it is a research-based, scientific assessment tool intended to evaluate driving errors related to cognitive impairment.

It is used in other jurisdictions across North America, Australia, and New Zealand to help determine an individual’s medical fitness to drive.

The new changes announced today will ensure that drivers who do not pass the in-office assessment will have the opportunity to take a DriveAble on-road assessment.

These changes are in response to complaints from many seniors who felt that the in-office assessment test did not fairly provide for an opportunity to demonstrate real on road driving abilities.

For more details on these program details please do not hesitate to contact my office.


Bill Barisoff is the MLA for the riding of Penticton.