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New parkades proposed for downtown Kelowna

City council initiated an alternative approval process on Monday to borrow $15-million.

The process seeks Kelowna electors' approval to borrow the funds that would be used to expand the library parkade and build a new parkade on the Memorial Arena property at the corner of Doyle Avenue and Ellis Street.

"The city recognizes that a unique, thriving and livable downtown is strategically important to Kelowna's overall prosperity and success—a notion that is supported in both the Official Community Plan and the Downtown Plan," said Doug Gilchrist, acting corporate sustainability general manager for the City of Kelowna.

To encourage downtown development, the city is working with Interior Health Authority to move a number of Interior Health's community services and programs to Doyle Avenue. The project will help revitalize the downtown area with higher density land use and upgrades for better, safer parking. Bringing nearly 1,000 jobs into the downtown will also stimulate business, public transit and housing.

The proposed parkades will accommodate staff parking needs for the new Interior Health development and provide more evening and weekend parking for the public.

Under the alternative approval process, municipal voters will be given 30 days, closing Oct. 26, to object to the borrowing. The project will proceed if fewer than 10 per cent of electors object.

"If the alternative approval process is successful, funds will be borrowed through the Municipal Finance Authority and will be paid back over a 30-year term," said Gilchrist. "There is no expected impact on City of Kelowna taxes, since the project revenues will offset the amount we'll need to borrow."

Residents will have the opportunity to find out more, view project panels, ask questions and discuss the project with city staff at an open house to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kelowna City Hall council chambers, 1435 Water St.

For more information about the project and the alternative approval process, visit kelowna.ca/cityprojects.

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