KELOWNA - Voters in Kelowna will have their say in the future of the South Perimeter Way, an arterial road that has been bumped up the transportation priority list at the behest of a developer.
Kelowna councillors wasted little time debating the proposal which will see a $10.8-million roadway and accompanying improvements constructed from the end of Gordon Drive in south Kelowna to Stewart Road.
Real estate services manager John Saufferer recommended council accept the deal which he said accomplishes a number of goals including a reduction in traffic congestion on Gordon and Lakeshore Roads, options for commercial development in the area and better egress for the suburban neighbourhoods in south Kelowna.
But best of all, Saufferer said, the deal is of no risk to Kelowna taxpayers because developer Ponds Ventures Inc. will construct the road at its own cost and will be paid back by the city as it collects development cost charges in the area.
There is no interest required nor is there a time limit on the payback, although Saufferer told councillors the current pace of development, were it to continue, would allow repayment within five to eight years.
Saufferer said if there is a downside, it would be bumping the 2.3-kilometre South Perimeter Way up the city’s transportation plan will delay improvements to Lakeshore Drive as well as the extension of Frost Road.
Still Saufferer said the benefits of the deal outweigh the negatives. No mention was made during the meeting of what would happen to the project if it is rejected by the Kelowna electorate.
“Successful delivery of this initiative would result in the completion of a major transportation project benefiting a significant region of our community in a manner that minimizes the city’s exposure to risk and additional costs associated with a project of this magnituded,” he said.
Coun. Tracy Grey seemed to speak for a number of her colleagues.
“It’s great to see no net taxation and a creative approach. It will definitely bring a road that’s really needed in our community that we hear a lot about so it’s good to see this finally come to fruition,” she said.
Because of the length of the payback period, the Community Charter requires the project be put to either city-wide referendum or the staff recommendation of using the alternative approval process.
To be defeated, it requires ten per cent of registered Kelowna voters to fill out an alternative approval elector response form which can be picked up at city hall or downloaded.
The forms will be accepted at Kelowna City Hall from Wednesday, Feb. 14 to 4 p.m. Friday, March 16. Certification of the results by Kelowna council will take place March 26.
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