Economic development tops West Kelowna’s strategic priorities

Economic development, infrastructure, community enhancement and services are the four areas that West Kelowna will focus on over the next three years.

On Tuesday, the District of West Kelowna council unanimously adopted its 2012 to 2014 Strategic Priorities Plan.

According to mayor Doug Findlater, council met a number of times, in workshop format, to put together the Strategic Priorities Plan.

“It was very timely, post election, because you hear all kinds of things during an election—(that) you’re doing the right thing or you should consider (something else),” said Findlater.

“There are a lot of fresh ideas here. Personally, I’m very confident that this plan reflects the needs of our citizens and (sets) a realistic agenda for our municipality as we go forward.”

Chief administrative officer Jason Johnson said that there are several priorities associated with economic development.

“The goal is to ensure a positive business climate with a vibrant downtown, productive relations with neighbours and local job opportunities,” said Johnson.

“The number one priority for council is the Westbank centre, including looking at catalyst programs and looking at implementing the Westbank Centre Plan.”

Other economic development priorities included developing an industrial park strategy, implementing the DWK Economic Development Plan, making development services more efficient and implementing a tourism strategy.

The second strategic priority is to provide infrastructure, including roads, water, sewer, storm drainage and sidewalks, to meet community needs.

Johnson said the top priority under the infrastructure heading is to complete a Stormwater Utility Plan, which will look at addressing the Casa Loma drainage issue as well as Green Bay drainage, complete the Sewer Servicing Strategy and complete the Water Master Plan in the upcoming year.

Community enhancement is the third priority for the DWK. The goal is to enhance the community by creating affordable and liveable neighbourhoods, thriving community centres and recreational opportunities while ensuring the protection of the environment.

Finalizing the Land Acquisition Strategy, implementing the Waterfront plan and working on better relationships with other governments were the top three community enhancement priorities for the district.

Finally, West Kelowna council identified services as the fourth priority. Public safety, customer service and communications were the three key areas the district agreed to direct its attention on under the services category.

“Council will also be looking at the Strategic Priorities Plan in November of this year, to update it once again to reflect the remaining two-year term and to reconfirm the upcoming priorities for 2013,” said Johnson.

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