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Lake Country, BC

Lake Country is a district municipality with a population of approximately 12,000 in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. It is a part of the Central Okanagan Regional District, and of the Kelowna metropolitan area. The city of Kelowna lies to the south, while the city of Vernon lies to the north. As its name suggests, there are a number of lakes in the vicinity of Lake Country, and outside the municipal boundaries in the hills to the east. Okanagan Lake defines the western boundary of the municipality, while the entirety of Wood Lake and the southernmost portion of Kalamalka Lake are encompassed by it.

Lake Country was incorporated in 1995. The previously unincorporated communities of Winfield, Okanagan Centre, Oyama, and Carr's Landing were united to form the new municipality, and they remain as separate wards within the new municipality. In the municipal government, one councillor is drawn from each of these wards, while the mayor, and two further councillors are elected by the people at large.


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Lake Country is the only municipality in the province of British Columbia to have the ward system. The four wards of Lake Country are: Okanagan Centre, Carr's Landing, Oyama, and Winfield.


Lake Country Government

Municipal - Municipal elections were last held on November 19, 2011. At that time, James Baker was elected mayor for a third term. Representing the four wards of the municipality are Lisa Cameron (Okanagan Centre), Barbara Leamont (Carr's Landing), Rob Geier (Winfield), and Owen Dickie (Oyama). The two councillors at large are Jamie McEwan, and Penny Gambell. The next round of municipal elections is scheduled for November 2014.

Provincial - Provincially, Lake Country is part of the constituency of Kelowna-Lake Country, this seat having been occupied by Norm Letnick of the BC Liberal Party since May 2009. The next provincial election is scheduled for May 2017.

Federal - Federally, Lake Country is part of the riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. Despite the similarity in nomenclature, the federal riding encompasses a greater area and population than its provincial counterpart. Ron Cannan of the Conservatives was first elected as MP in January 2006.


Lake Country Education & Transportation

Education - Public education in Lake Country is provided by School District 23 Central Okanagan. Three elementary schools are located in the Municipality: Davidson Road Elementary, Oyama Traditional School, and Peter Greer Elementary. All three cover Kindergarten to Grade 7, although the French Immersion programme which is provided at Peter Greer Elementary covers only Kindergarten to Grade 6. Lake Country is also home to George Elliot Secondary, which covers Grades 8 to 12. The two largest institutions providing post-secondary education in the area of Lake Country are UBC Okanagan, the campus which lies in north Kelowna, and Okanagan College, which has campuses in Kelowna and Coldstream.

Transportation - Lake Country is situated on the major north-south route through the Okanagan valley, Highway 97, approximately 15 km of which lies within the municipality, passing through Winfield and Oyama. To the south, the highway provides a route to Kelowna, whose downtown core is 20 km south of the municipal boundary. Glenmore Road provides an alternate route to Kelowna. To the north, the highway leads to Vernon, whose downtown is 15 km north of the municipal boundary. Vernon can also be accessed via Commonage Road. The highway is four-laned through Winfield and north of Oyama, while the section from Winfield to Oyama is presently two-laned. Plans are underway to widen this portion of Highway 97, and to realign it further to the west of Wood Lake.

A regular public bus service by Kelowna Regional Transit System, route 23, is available from Winfield to Kelowna at the UBC Okanagan exchange. A less frequent express service by Vernon Regional Transit System, route 90, is also available, connecting Oyama and Winfield with Vernon and UBC Okanagan exchange. Lake Country is in close proximity to Kelowna International Airport, which lies only 8 km to the south, and which provides regular service to major cities such as Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Los Angeles, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto.

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