Atamanenko forum raises many issues

Atamanenko forum raises many issues

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Everything and the kitchen sink was on the table during MP Alex Atamanenko’s community forum in Osoyoos recently.
Atamanenko began the meeting by talking about what he has been working on, including his opposition to genetically modified food, the introduction of “smart meters,” post office closures, and the sanctioned slaughter of horses.
The member of parliament for the Southern Interior said you can’t introduce genetically modified crops to the potential detriment of the organic or conventional apply industry.
“We’re dealing with powerful forces that don’t want any discussion on GMOs (genetically modified organisms).”
Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells raised the issue of increased RCMP costs when the community reaches 5,000 population. He questioned whether to raises taxes now in order to have enough for these costs in the near future.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes previously raised similar concerns and is also struggling with the question of raising taxes for this purpose. Oliver’s population is currently more than 4,800.
Hovanes discussed the high school rebuild project and the beneficial community connections, such as Neighbourhoods of Learning and the shared auditorium.
He also spoke of the positive aspects of the new corrections facility and the new jobs at Structurlam.
Although there have been some tough economic times, Hovanes conveyed that Oliver is doing quite well and has a lot of optimism. He also noted the number of new residents in Oliver who have become very involved in the community.
The 30 people who attended the forum also heard about Atamanenko’s concern about Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, and about the solutions needed to address farm labour issues in Oliver and Osoyoos.
Atamanenko said people are also calling for improvements to infrastructure and the use of solar energy in rural areas.
The Chronicle asked the member of parliament for an update on the national park project in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Atamanenko said he met with the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, which is still conducting its own feasibility study that should be completed by the end of the year. The politician said any study should adequately consider the impacts the park will have on the ranching community.
Atamanenko said the federal government has backed off supporting the park proposal because the provincial government has stated it would not support the concept at this time.
The politician acknowledged that it would take many years to establish such a park in this area.

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