West Kelowna neighbourhood's concerns not going away despite cool response from council - InfoNews

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West Kelowna neighbourhood's concerns not going away despite cool response from council

Number one on the list of concerns for Glenrosa residents was the condition of Jackpine Road as the second exit out of the area in case of a wildfire emergency.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Wildfire
January 23, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KELOWNA - Waiting six months to get mostly non-committal, general responses to a dozen concerns does not worry Graham O’Leary, interim president of the Glenrosa Resident’s Association.

“I don’t think any of the things we put forward we expected 100 per cent resolution right away,” O’Leary told iNFOnews.ca today, Jan. 23. “I think most all of them are going to be a work in progress."

The association’s board of directors approached West Kelowna council last August with a dozen neighbourhood concerns along with recommended resolutions. Not a single recommendation from the association was agreed to by city staff in its written report to council last night.

Despite the lack of action by the city, O’Leary remains optimistic.

“It is a new council,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good talks with them and remain positive. It’s just going to take time and talks and a lot of communication and hopefully we’ll bang things off (the list), The association now is almost all new members, so some fresh ideas and fresh people - ones that aren’t tired from beating their heads against the wall – I think will make a big difference too.”

Number one on the list was the condition of Jackpine Road as the second exit out of the area in case of an emergency.

The residents wanted the road widened and graded regularly. The city’s response was that it lobbied the provincial government unsuccessfully, it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the road and it will put up directional signs.

That’s still the number one priority with residents, O’Leary said. A 2009 forest fire near Gorman’s mill forced an evacuation.

“That was the last evacuation in the area and it was fairly chaotic as people driving down Glenrosa Road were driving, basically, right next to the fire,” he said.

That’s why improvements to Jackpine Road have been talked about ever since.

“If you’re in a car, your car is going to be destroyed by the time you get out,” O’Leary said. “It’s pretty rough.”

In the short term, he said he's looking at setting up a community meeting, to include fire and police officials, to educate residents “about the more technical part of why and when and how evacuation happens and educate people on how to make a mass evacuation work well."

Longer term, he will continue to lobby West Kelowna council and the provincial government.

Another big and closely related concern is the lack of a water system in Upper Glenrosa, where there are no fire hydrants so that area could be at greater risk in case of a forest fire.

Staff’s response is that water systems are paid for by users, that it could cost $95,000 per household and there is no support for that.

The association’s vice-president, Karen Hansen, lives in Upper Glenrosa and has been advocating for a water system but, O’Leary realizes at $95,000 per home, that’s not likely to happen unless major contributions are made by future developments.

Residents also want improvements made to the intersection of McIver and Glenrosa Roads. Staff’s response was that design work will be done this year for construction maybe as early as 2020.

It was suggested that the small traffic circles on Webber Road be made larger. Staff said they’re fine the way they are.

Sidewalks were requested in all school zones but staff said such work has to adhere to its 10 Year Capital Plan. Similarly, repairs to specific roads also need to fit with the 10 Year Road Rehab Plan, a copy of which was attached to the report.

A request for additional police speed patrols was met with a comment that money had been set aside for the RCMP to hire reservists and that the city asked the police to see if patrols can be increased in Glenrosa.

Concerns with snow removal were met with long explanations of how that work is done and a comment that the snow removal contract will be reviewed this year.

A request for more mosquito control was met with a flat no. Council considered it in 2012 and 2017 and rejected the idea both times.

A request for bylaw officers to patrol areas where garbage is being dumped triggered a blunt statement that bylaw officers responded to complaints only.

Association directors expect to meet with city staff for further discussions soon and will hold a general meeting Feb. 24.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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