COLUMN: Hitting the road and hearing from you this Summer

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Representing four incorporated communities –Salmo, Nelson, Kaslo and Creston– and roughly 25 unincorporated communities, I spend much of June to September enjoying the opportunity of summer roads to get to all corners of Nelson-Creston. That’s not to say I don’t travel during the winter, because I definitely do, but most of that travel is to Victoria. So when the summer arrives, I like to hit the Kootenay roads and hear from you.

For the seventh consecutive year, I held my annual Bend the MLA Ear’s Tour during the first week of July. On the first day touring the Creston Valley, I put 332kms on my car.

Starting the day in Crawford Bay, several people stopped to talk about the proposed changes to the Kootenay Lake Ferry landing on the west side of the lake. Some wanted to let me know they had changed their mind from supporting the move, others wanted to let me know how much they disliked the idea of moving the landing. A couple people said they are fine with a move, but they, like others, were most concerned about the ferry schedule.

This has been a long-standing issue for East Shore residents. Last year, someone brought me a decades-old ferry schedule that saw the ferry operating on the hour, ending at midnight. Space prevents me from going into the history of our ferry’s scheduling, but if you can talk to your neighbours to learn more, please do. At the end of the day, the ferry schedule can and should be better, so let’s make that a priority consideration when building a new ferry to traverse our lake.

It was great to connect with many Creston Valley residents in Wynndel, Yahk and Canyon as the day continued, and I will be following-up on the community issues they brought to my attention. The following day, I started at the north end of Kootenay Lake in Argenta and Meadow Creek where the top topic was potential logging on the Argenta face. Everyone agrees that forestry plays and important role in our local economy, and they want to work with the ministry and local forestry companies on preserving viewscapes, natural habitat and jobs.

Heading back down the lake, I arrived in Balfour where over forty residents came to bend my ear about the proposal to move the ferry landing to Queen’s Bay. The community is clearly united to keep the landing where it is. People visiting me in Proctor said the same thing. There were lots of questions too. Thankfully, the ministry of transportation has heard our call to extend the public consultation period to October 6 so that we have time to do an informed and fulsome consultation. Have your say at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/tranbc/openhouse/ or stop by my office to fill out a hard copy of the survey, drop off your letter and/or sign the petition. I will ensure that the ministry receives your feedback.

On the last day of the tour, I stopped in South Slocan, Ymir and attended the Salmo Farmer’s Market where I ran into MP Wayne Stetski as he was touring the Kootenays to let people know about his proposal for a national Local Food Day. We chatted with several constituents while their kids entered my summer colouring contest. To learn more about the contest and how children under 12 years-old can enter, visit my office in Nelson, my monthly mobile office, website, www.michellemungall.ca, or send me an email at Michelle.Mungall.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

Summer is a great time to connect with Kootenay people and our surroundings. See you out there!