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West Kelowna raises couplet issue at UBCM

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and district councillors met with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polak Thursday about ongoing concerns regarding downtown Westbank's couplet.

"Since 1986, the provincial highway has operated as the one-way couplet configuration and West Kelowna council believes it is a contributing reason for a decline in commercial and pedestrian activity in the area," said Findlater.

"The couplet comes up in strategic planning sessions every year since we incorporated.

"We have lobbied hard for this important change, one council believes is vital to Westbank Centre revitalization and I am very pleased with Minister Polak's interest in working on a suitable solution with us."

Polak agreed to have staff look at design solutions for the couplet within the next few months, with a draft design expected to be prepared by February, 2013.

West Kelowna is seeking to get provincial support to convert Main Street into a two -way local facility that is pedestrian oriented with local commercial development—allowing Dobbin Road to serve as a two-way Highway 97 through the community.

The district also requested that it be included in consultations relative to the impending land exchange between Westbank First Nation and the provincial government in compensation for lands used for the building of the Westside Road Interchange.

"We were relieve to hear reassurances from Minister Polak that West Kelowna will be consulted in discussions early on in the process related to the exchange.

"I think over the past year we have all learned some lessons on how best to proceed with all parties impacted by potential land swaps."

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