Kelowna has a half-billion dollar nice-to-have list it can't quite afford

The Apple Bowl missed the cut on the list of projects to be funded by the city over by 2030.


KELOWNA - Even Mayor Colin Basran admits the numbers — $1 billion worth of infrastructure projects over 15 years — scare him.

But Coun. Luke Stack says what bothers him isn’t what’s on the list of future projects, but the discard pile of projects that haven’t made the cut.

“The list of what’s not funded is what sobered me,” Stack said, during a presentation to council on Kelowna’s draft infrastructure plan.

“There would no Apple Bowl upgrade, not city arts building, money for the theatre or museum,” Stack said. “If we want to see something like the community theatre upgraded, there is no money in it for the plan.

The city has just over $1 billion worth of top priority projects on the books for completion by 2030, including a $50 million replacement for Parkinson Recreation Centre, $157 million on parkland aquisition and development and $102 million on alternative transportation networks.

But the priority two wish list is worth almost half that much, $489 million. It includes projects listed as unfunded and not scheduled to proceed before 2030, at least not without a significant sustained property tax increase.

Leftover items include a replacement for the Kelowna Community Theatre ($52 million), the Kelowna Museum ($38 million), the extension of the Clement bypass to Highway 33 ($50 million) and a transit garage $59 (million).

The wild card, however, is the exclusion from the infrastructure budget of any possible federal or provincial government grants or partnerships with private business on projects like the theatre and museum.

Infrastructure planning manager Joel Shaw told councillors unconfirmed grants or other revenue sources can’t be included in revenue estimates, although the possibility of securing them is very real and could potentially move some of the leftover projects to the top priority list.

Stack said he realizes the probability of grant money of changing the final outcome of the infrastructure plan, but added it has changed his outlook.

“I realize how limited our scope really is,” he said.

For his part Mayor Colin Basran said the leftover project list should convince critics his council isn’t spending extravagantly.

“This isn’t some grandiose plan full of shiny new things, we are renewing the infrastructure we have,” Basran said. “This isn’t a council trying to make its mark with landmark projects.”

For more City of Kelowna stories, click here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724

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