Boucherie Road facelift becomes a ‘priority project’

It’s no secret that Boucherie Road connects tourists and residents to some of the most beautiful wineries in the Okanagan.

It’s also no secret that areas of the road itself are far from beautiful.

With the District of West Kelowna council’s decision on Tuesday, that will likely change.

Council agreed to move the Boucherie Road upgrade—to “wine route standard”—forward as a priority project at the Jan. 31 budget meeting.

Early blueprints of the improved stretch of Boucherie Road—from Highway 97 to Stuart Road—show a sidewalk on one side of the street, bike lanes going both ways, curb and gutter, street lighting, retaining walls, a storm sewer system and a 1.8 metre planted median in the middle of the road.

The timing of the Boucherie Road upgrades will be convenient as the Lakeview Heights Phase Seven sanitary sewer project is in the advanced design stage. As part of this project, the installation of a new sanitary sewer system and the replacement of the existing water system on Boucherie Road are being proposed.

Council agreed that it is cost effective to upgrade this section of Boucherie Road in conjunction with Lakeview Heights Phase Seven, rather than making further improvements at a later date.

Mayor Doug Findlater was impressed by the designs that were presented to council.

“This is quite spectacular to see. It’s an important neighbourhood; the entrance to it is not very attractive right now. This would be a dramatic improvement on what’s a really bad road for drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists,” said Findlater.

“Yes it’s going to hurt the reserves, but it makes infinite sense to do it when we’re tearing the road up anyway.”

The only person to vote against the motion was Coun. Rick de Jong. He questioned the necessity of having a median in the middle of the road.

“I can follow the need for sidewalks, there’s a safety issue there. Bike lanes can also be looked at as a safety issue. I’m really struggling with this median in the middle,” said de Jong.

He asked DWK staff if money could be saved by taking the median out of the design.

Staff informed de Jong that taking out the median could save the district approximately $400,000; however, the median could be looked at as a safety feature because it will likely calm traffic.

Other councillors were quick to indicate their support for keeping the median. Coun. Duane Ophus said it was a “critical” part of the design in order to make that stretch of road safer.

The road upgrade will cost the district $2,602,000.

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