Saanich is an amazing place to live, work and play and I am so grateful to be a part of this great community.
This year we have made significant investments in schools in Saanich because children deserve to attend school in safe environments where they have ample opportunity to play and learn. We invested in three new accessible playgrounds, replaced the Children’s Development Center with a modern, earthquake-resistant building, and funded traffic improvements in the school zone, including new crosswalks and sidewalk extensions.
Our goal has been to move British Columbia forward into a future where all can enjoy the beauty that Vancouver Island has to offer. This year, we invested in a new oxygenation system for Elk and Beaver Lakes to make the water cleaner and safer for people. We also proposed to carry over 2.6 million hectares of our most at risk and oldest old growth forests, in line with the recommendations of a panel of experts. We are working with First Nations across British Columbia to achieve our vision of a modern and sustainable forest management system where workers and communities benefit rather than businesses.
We are also building more housing for working Indigenous families, through a partnership between BC Housing, the Salish Sea Housing Society and the Tsawout First Nation. I know the people of Saanich and across British Columbia are concerned about the unaffordability of housing, and that is why we are making solving the housing crisis a priority. This includes building more low- and middle-income housing, as well as other strategies to ensure people have a safe place to live. In the spring, we will be announcing legislation to create a cooling off period for new resale properties and newly built homes in British Columbia.
When it comes to BC farmers, food producers and processors, the word that best sums up 2021 is resilience. Going through an unprecedented pandemic, accompanied by heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods, all while being able to put healthy and delicious food on the tables of British Columbians is amazing and shows just how amazing farmers are resilient and adaptable.
Saanich is so lucky to have an abundance of farms that you can visit and buy local fruits and vegetables and other produce.
As we move into a new year, I urge everyone to do your part to support your local producers who are putting food on our tables. As I visit the Fraser Valley and chat with farmers who have been affected by the recent flooding, I am struck by the hope and optimism they have for the future.
It’s time for us to show them how much they mean to us. Whether it’s at the grocery store, at a farmer’s market, or even online, it’s always a great time to buy BC. It helps strengthen our local food systems while supporting our neighbors and communities.
There is still work to be done to build a BC that works for everyone, but I am proud of the work we did in 2021 and look forward to doing even more in 2022.
– Lana Popham is Member of Parliament for Saanich South and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
Year in review 2021