March 24, 2014 - 1:11 PM
KELOWNA - The final votes have been cast for how Rutland residents would like to see $100K spent improving their community, but the winning suggestion is likely not the city’s favourite option.
Residents were asked to vote on how they would like the money spent in the $100K Worth of Ideas campaign. The first round of public engagement concluded Feb. 21 and revealed five favourites. Proposed projects included enhancements to Aurora Park, a community mural program, fitness/urban movement park, a public market space and Roxby Park enhancements.
The second phase of the project asked residents to vote on which of the five they would most like to see built. The city received 420 votes and the suggestion that received the most was for a public market space.
Project Manager Michelle Kam says that although the idea for a public market is appealing, the reality is that of the five suggestions, only the market would rely on continuous involvement from the private sector.
“With a public market space, we would have to have someone operate it,” Kam says. “It wouldn’t be the city that does that.”
Although Kam says that the idea is by no means off the table, there are significant obstacles that will have to be examined in a feasibility study.
“The (public) market is awfully seasonal and one day a week,” Kam says. “We want to make sure… it’s the best use of the funds.”
A first step in the feasibility study, she says, is to find an individual or group willing and able to operate a successful public market.
“If nobody steps forward (to run the market) then that’s not an option,” Kam says, adding that the city is working on a backup plan.
“We’re going to focus in on the top two ideas,” she says. “We definitely want to look at what the public is telling us.”
Of the 420 votes cast, the public market received 173. A fitness/urban movement park received the second highest number of votes with 119.
“Because (a market) requires an external partner, it would be harder to operate (than a fitness park),” Kam says. “We will do a feasibility of the top two (suggestions).”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014