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Premier weighs in on hot topics in the Okanagan in extensive interview

Posted by on 25/11/2018

Premier Christy Clark is in the Okanagan and she discussed topics from a national park in the valley to public school funding during an extensive interview in the Global Okanagan newsroom on Tuesday.

Clark weighed in on national park discussions in the south Okanagan saying there may be solutions despite the province’s original rejection of a national park in the south Okanagan Similkameen.

The province recently released the results of a survey seeking public input on a plan to protect environmentally sensitive areas of the south Okanagan.

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    READ MORE: Strong interest in protecting South Okanagan-Similkameen areas

    Most respondents supported the proposal that would see a national park reserve south west of Okanagan Falls and west of Osoyoos.

    As well, an area between Cawston and Oliver could be a new provincial conservancy.

    “There’s a solution that will be a combination of a lot of the different proposals that have come forward. I think it could be something that the First Nation supports, that the business community supports, tenure holders and that most importantly protects the environment in the region,” Clark said.

    In a live interview with Global Okanagan’s Rick Webber on the 5 p.m. newscast, the premier also commented on the topic of public schools.

    WATCH BELOW: B.C. Premier Christy Clark visits Global Okanagan News at 5

    Clark asserted that what appeared to be a short-term solution to keep local schools open in smaller Okanagan communities may keep them open for good.

    Three Okanagan schools applied for new funding to prevent them from closing their doors for good last month.

    Osoyoos Secondary was on the brink of closing, causing turmoil in the south Okanagan town.

    READ MORE: Lawsuit over Osoyoos Secondary closure goes to Supreme Court

    While school districts were certain the money was only going to keep them open for just two years, the premier tells Global News the fund for smaller community schools that qualify will be kept around permanently.

    When Webber asked Clark whether the fund would only be good for two years, the premier responded saying “no, it’s permanent. Now, what we are doing though is… the criteria are not as thorough as they will need to be in the long term. So, [Boundary-Similkameen MLA] Linda Larsen is working on a rural school task force that is going to make sure we have really clear criteria for it in the future. But this money is going to stay in that fund.”

    The premier was also in Penticton on Tuesday for the Penticton Regional Hospital’s ceremonial sod turning to mark the construction of a new patient care tower.

    WATCH BELOW: Premier in Penticton for hospital expansion photo-op

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