As part of our B.C. election coverage, Black Press asked candidates to submit a bio about themselves, why they are running and what is the most important issue in the Boundary-Similkameen riding.
Petra Veintimilla is the proud mother of two beautiful and energetic boys, she is married to her high school sweetheart and she is the third generation in operating a family business in the South Okanagan. Petra is a second term town councillor in Oliver, a director on the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen board and chair of the Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District.
Petra is a dedicated community volunteer and a community builder who believes in hard work, and in building connections.
She firmly feels it is our duty to do all we can to leave things better off than we found them for future generations.
Petra is a two-term past-president of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, where she worked for the betterment of the business communities in Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos.
What are your reasons for running in this election?
We are living through a time right now that no one could have predicted, and we are likely facing one of the most important elections of our lifetimes. We have our work cut out for us in the coming years rebuilding the economy, investing in a sustainable future, and making sure that our citizens have access to all of the services they need to not only survive but to thrive.
I believe that it is important for a wide range of voices to be present and to represent the diversity of our communities. As a mother, as a person who has grown up in the small business world, as a person with on the ground municipal experience, and as a person with a diverse background, I know that I have what it takes to represent the residents of the Boundary-Similkameen in a genuine way, with honesty and integrity.
What do you believe to be the three most important issues for the riding?
Each community in the Boundary-Similkameen is unique, and each community has its own challenges – as someone once said to me, once you’ve seen one rural community you’ve seen one rural community.
If I had to narrow it down to just three I would go with the following:
• The economy and supporting our small businesses, many of which are the heart, soul, and backbone of our communities;
• Healthcare and ensuring timely and equitable access to both primary and urgent care across our communities, as well as working towards a long term wrap-around solution to deal with the overdose crisis currently gripping all parts of our province.
• Housing, specifically access to rental housing (both market-rate rental housing and other).
Actually, I can’t keep the list to just three and will add a fourth: Relationships, specifically continuing our journeys of engagement, healing, and reconciliation with our First Nations neighbours, friends and family.
What works have you done for the community prior to deciding to run for election?
I have been an active and engaged community member for many years. I love to be involved wherever possible, and I believe that our communities are only as good as we make them.
Over the years I have been involved in the planning and execution of many community events, including everything from Christmas light-up celebrations to the near world-famous Festival of the Grape. I am a member and chair of the Parent Advisory Council at my children’s school, and just recently concluded a four-year term as a board member with South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services (SOICS). I, along with two friends, am a founding member of the local chapter of 100 Women Who Care, and together with a dedicated group of women in Okanagan Falls, Oliver, and Osoyoos we have raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities. I work hard to help create the kind of community that I and others want to be a part of, as many hands make light work.
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