OKANAGAN OUTLOOK 2011 — 19 FACTBOX:
Key Interior Health stats: Annual Budget: $1.7 billion Area Population: 742,000 45 Acute Sites 1,283 Acute Beds 18,800 Employees 7 Regional Hospital Districts
6,204 Residential & Assisted Living Beds (March 31, 2011)
1,446 Physicians with privi- leges at IH Acute Facilities
58 Municipalities & 95 Unincorporated 55 First Nation Communities
Continued from page 18 “Delivering a balanced budget
is a very impressive accom- plishment for an organization as large and complex as Interior Health and considering the pressures facing the health- care system,” Halpenny said.
On a personal note, Halpenny said the addition of new dedi- cated helicopter service out of Kamloops, announced Aug. 30, together with the IH High Acuity Response Teams that were launched last year, will provide improved emergency response service. Physician and staff re- cruitment and retention in rural communities is also of para- mount importance to IH and Halpenny.
All of these issues and ac- complishments – plus more – will be at the forefront as IH heads into the final months of 2011 and the early weeks of 2012.
“Interior Health needs to place more focus on the transition of the patient through the health- care system – from the commu- nity, into the acute-care system and back to the community set- ting,” Halpenny said. “Quality outcomes for the patient can be improved and costs to the sys- tem can be reduced if we can improve the timeliness of the patient journey, returning them home and to better health sooner.”
LEADERS AND INNOVATORS KELOWNA Shepherd puts focus on parks
You will have to excuse Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd for spending so much time in the parks lately.You see, it was work related.
The City of Kelowna’s leading elected official cited improvements or additions to parks and recreational infrastructure as her highlight of 2011, thus far, and a commitment to culture and the environment as what she anticipates most.
“We were very fortunate to have received un- precedented infrastructure dollars in partnership with the other levels of government in 2010, which carried over projects into the early part of 2011,” Shepherd said. “The first part of the year also resulted in enhanced funding towards the Parkinson addition for the relocation of the Water Street Seniors Centre, determining a plan for Bernard Avenue revitalization and new tax incen- tives developed for the downtown and Rutland town centres.”
Seven new neighbourhood parks, a mountain-
bike skills park, a pedestrian overpass on Harvey Avenue and multipurpose corridors along Lakeshore Road, Houghton Road and Cawston Avenue highlighted city achievements over the last nine months, she said.
Shepherd also singled out the opening of
Stuart Park as something everyone at City Hall enjoyed. Long on the drawing board, and the subject of legal wrangling, the piece of land along the lakeshore across from City Hall re- ceived an unprecedented facelift in the latter stages of 2010.
That issue seemed in-concert with the much- maligned downtown redevelopment plan. Councillors scrapped the so-called CD-21 zone at the last minute, causing chagrin among the Chamber of Commerce, to soften the number of highrises near the waterfront. City staff used a charette process (a concentrated period of de- sign and consultation) to come up with a new face for Kelowna’s future, one Shepherd called “exciting.” Remaking Bernard Avenue, which blends culture and business, is also high on Shepherd’s to-do list.
Away from the boardrooms, Shepherd said she
was especially proud of social projects, including the NOW complex for women and children along Pandosy Street, the ground-breaking for the New Gate project in Rutland and One Cup At A Time business venture in the social housing complex, Cardington, on St. Paul Street .
The planning for the next 20 years has also been completed with the final readings of the Official Community Plan 2030, called “Greening Our Future” by city staffers.
“In the town centres, the recent planning for the
form and character of our future buildings and height impacts and the recent downtown charette will set the stage for the future enhance- ment of having a viable ‘heart of Kelowna’ being built,” she said.
All of these projects, and more, put Kelowna in good stead when the economy returns to record- breaking levels experienced before the global economic slowdown of 2009, she said.
“Development has definitely slowed down, al- though there have been a number of major proj- ects put on hold until the market improves and the condos that are on the market are sold,” said Shepherd.
“The positive outcome with the challenging
market has been the opportunities for more avail- able rental units and the housing market flatten- ing out.Th
e city has also been fortunate with the other government projects taking place in our city such as at the hospital (KGH) and the University (UBCO) and our airport continues to
be busy although the traveller numbers are slightly decreased.”
As for the final few months of this year, Shepherd said Bernard Avenue’s revitalization should get the green light for construction in 2012, and final readings for Central Green (the old Kelowna Secondary site at Richter Street and Highway 97) and social housing plans should encourage more affordable units to be built, something of personal interest to the may- or.
“I do hope there are more ‘multipurpose’ path-
way connections completed to encourage our residents to cycle and walk,” she said. “I would like to work towards a new ‘tourism’ complex as well.”
And for the early weeks of 2012, the mayor said since it’s an election year, “Budgeting and tax impacts are always the first order of busi- ness.
“It will be a new term of council, and workshops on visions of all those on council will be neces- sary in the group working together over the next three years on behalf of the citizens of this com- munity.”
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