I have been a resident of Princeton for thirty years and I am writing in strong support of the proposal to include the town of Princeton and the surrounding area in the Boundary Similkameen constituency. I attended the commission’s meeting in Princeton and I do not agree with the opinion expressed by some at that meeting that Princeton has a close community of interest with Merritt. In fact, Princeton has a much closer community of interest with the other small towns in the Boundary Similkameen.
Princeton, Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos all depend upon Interior Health services centered in Penticton. Several of these communities, including Princeton, have small hospitals but residents receive all serious medical treatment at Penticton Regional Hospital. All infant deliveries in the Similkameen and southern Okanagan take place in Penticton. Princeton shares a mental health social worker with Keremeos and an IHA physiotherapist with other small towns in the proposed constituency. Princeton is included in the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation which supports medical needs in our region. We do not share medical services with Merritt as their medical center is Kamloops.
As President of Princeton Family Services Society (PFSS) I am very aware that we share social services with several of the communities in the proposed constituency, in particular Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos. The director of PFSS meets regularly with her counterparts in these communities as their agencies provide many of the same programs as our Society, including Infant Development Program, Safe Homes, GP for Me and CAAPC. Also, the supervisor of the Princeton office of the Ministry for Children and Families is based in Keremeos, not in Merritt. We do not share social services with Merritt.
The inclusion of Princeton in a joint school district with Merritt was imposed by the provincial government. At the time of the legislated amalgamation, Princeton teachers requested that our school district join with Keremeos, not with Merritt. Our secondary school teams continue to belong to sports leagues that include other Tier 1 schools in Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos, not Merritt.
In conclusion, I urge the Commission to support the inclusion of Princeton in the constituency of Boundary Similkameen.