January 30, 2015 - 10:34 AM
WEST KELOWNA - West Kelowa is pushing ahead to improve and upgrade its pedestrian and bike path network with an ambitious plan both to make cycling and walking easier and to find ways to help pay for it.
West Kelowna council saw the first draft of the 20-year pedestrian and bicyle path plan this week, the first step in the wider introduction of the plan to local residents.
“There are no set conclusions in it yet,” District engineering manager Rob Hillis said. “There is no set budget yet. We’re just giving options to consider.”
Hillis said the plan identifies 97 possible trail or sidewalk connections that could be made over the plan’s 20 year rollout, costing an estimated $32-million and recommends the current road and sidewalk rehabilitation budget be almost doubled to $271,000 from $140,000.
This is on top of a planned $850,000 per year over the same time period that will be spent on sidewalk improvements and a further $250,000 per year on cycling improvements to arterial roads in the district.
“This is what happens when you go from rural to urban standards,” Hillis said. “We’re definitely playing catch-up. There wasn’t a lot of sidewalks (on the Westside) before the mid-‘90s.”
Hillis said consultant Boulevard Transportation had built on existing pedestrian and cycling plans prepared by the Central Okanagan Regional District before West Kelowna incorporated in 2007.
The comprehensive plan details all aspects of the network including possible funding sources such as B.C. Bike, the Canadian Gas Tax Fund and the Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships fund.
Hillis said both West Kelowna council and local residents will have opportunities in the coming months to comment on the plan before it is refined for final release.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015