December 22, 2015 - 1:00 PM
KELOWNA - The city will require about $120 million from property owners to cover costs in Kelowna next year.
While big ticket items like police officers and recreation centres often get the headlines, the city spends millions on dozens of other initiatives in many different areas as well.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the smaller items contained within Kelowna’s 2016 budget.
Downtown Kelowna’s one way streets, Lawrence and Leon avenues, will be examined for conversion back to two-way streets. Staff will spend $20,000 studying the best way to achieve the conversion, which they hope will help beautify an isolated part of downtown Kelowna.
Ongoing problems with sediment from Mission Creek will be the focus of a shoreline plan from the creek mouth north to Rotary Beach. The city will spend $150,000 to develop the plan, which will in turn be used to appliy for future environmental permits from the provincial government.
A master plan for the CN Rail corridor will cost $125,000. Kelowna will collaborate with other communities on the plan, but also use it to determine if any surplus land within the city boundaries can be sold off.
A social issues coordinator will be hired for a three-year term. The coordinator will be asked to develop a 'collective impact' model to address homelessness. Cost of the position is just over $300,000 and fulfills a pledge by Mayor Colin Basran and council to become more directly involved dealing with homelessness in Kelowna.
The city receives over 6,000 services requests a year for graffiti eradication in public places. This year, the parks services department will spend just over $210,000 on eradication up from $188,500 last year.
Mattress recycling will begin immediately at the Glenmore Landfill, where residents drop off over 10,000 mattresses a year. Mattresses do not compact and 'float' to the surface of the landfill where they get caught up in tractor tires and truck axles.
Cleaning up transient camps will cost an extra $25,000 this year, following bylaw officers reporting numbers have doubled over the last few years. A contractor will be hired to clean up the camps which are frequently littered with used syringes and other biohazards.
Public works is topping up its signs maintenance budget by $10,000 this year to $180,000. The number of signs in the city has jumped by 10 per cent to 20,700 in the last four years, including the introduction of tourist-oriented destination and way-finding signs.
Cleaning up roadside garbage and refuse falling off vehicles on their way to the Glenmore Landfill will cost an additional $20,000 next year. The city already spends $32,000 each year cleaning up after unsecured loads and the landfill itself had a 50 per cent increase in traffic in the first six months of 2015.
Controlling marmots, rats and other rodents will cost the city $10,000 next year as Kelowna responds to reports of surging rat populations. A contractor will be hired to perform pest control on civic properties.
Beach wheelchairs may soon be available at Boyce-Gyro and Rotary Beach. The city is planning to buy two of the fat-wheeled chairs and making them available through beach vendors.
Elk Stadium will be getting some love with $50,000 worth of infield renovations and another $60,000 to fix the outfield fence and replace the plywood under the onfield advertising.
Walking will get a little easier with the $417,000 the city will spend either planning or building sidewalks along major roads. The two biggest projests are on Bernard Avenue near Burtch Road and on High Road between Glengarry and Tronson Drives.
Bus riders will soon get real time information system through a transit automatic vehicle location system on the Internet. The city will spend $572,000 on the system, but will get the money from federal and provincial grants.
To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015