"IT'S DEFINITELY BEHIND SCHEDULE."
KELOWNA – Shoppers, businesses owners and employees rejoice, there will soon be a few more places to park in Kelowna's downtown core.
The six-storey, $14.9 million Memorial Parkade on Ellis Street will be fully open next month, according to Kelowna parking services manager Dave Duncan.
The project was started in September 2015 and was supposed to be finished in November, but weather and other delays have pushed the open date to around the first week of April.
“There have been some challenges,” Duncan says. “It was supposed to be finished last year… it’s definitely behind schedule.”
A major factor, he says, has been the unpredictable weather that has made pouring concrete impossible.
“It warms up for two days then it drops back down. It puts a damper on getting things done but we don’t want to rush it. We want something that’s going to last,” he says.
Some business owners have told iNFOnews.ca since Interior Health moved into the parkade, the parking problems downtown have gone from bad to worse.
Executive director of the Downtown Kelowna Association Peggy Athans says her organization hasn't received any complaints.
“It’s a growing pain of development. The good news is it is short term,” Athans says. “It’s so unfortunate (the parkade) has taken so long to build. That’s the most frustrating thing. They’re trying everything they can to open as much as they can.”
Roughly half of the 380 allotted Interior Health staff parking spots in the new parkade have been in use for the past couple months with the rest opening next week, Duncan says.
There will be 139 public stalls, which roughly replace those lost when a surface lot on the property was demolished in 2015. All 380 Interior Health staff spots will be open to the public between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“We’re going to start to see a shift in availability,” Duncan says. “We’ll have over 100 people moving out of the library parkade into Memorial and in a few weeks we’ll open up the public stalls. We’re nearing the end here.”
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