West Kelowna council hears associations' concerns

Nine local associations had an opportunity to directly address District of West Kelowna council Tuesday night.

The session was held to give the groups an opportunity to share their concerns and ask questions of the district.

"This is an annual commitment that we make to hear from residents' associations," said Mayor Doug Findlater.

Findlater added staff was taking "copious notes" and, in some instances, will bring reports back to council. He added they will also answer questions that were posed by the groups Tuesday night.

Below are a few of the several issues raised by each group.

- Michael Trenn, president of the West Kelowna Residents' Association, pointed out several issues the association has, relating to health and safety, off-road vehicles, crown land and municipal infrastructure and road development.

Regarding road development, Trenn noted the Master Transportation Plan indicates a significant percentage of the capital cost for arterial roads is being put toward wine trail upgrades.

"We'd be interested to know what the economic benefit to the community (is)," said Trenn.

He noted some of that money may be better used on roads in other areas of the district to improve livability.

- Smith Creek Residents' Association president Dave Compton told council areas they have been succeeding and areas where improvement is needed.

Compton said communication needs to improve between the district and residents' associations.

He noted often times the communication has occurred "after the process is all but complete."

He added the district's website needs to improve its search function.

Compton thanked council for the traffic calming work that has been happening in the Smith Creek neighbourhood.

- Dave Mathieson spoke on behalf of the Shannon Lake Neighbourhood Association.

He said 2013 was a good year for getting things checked off the association's project list, such as traffic calming, landscaping of the bulk water station and completion of improvements to the neighbourhood pub.

He noted there was an unfortunate accident last year involving a pedestrian being hit by a car in the neighbourhood; therefore, Shannon Lake traffic calming and sidewalk improvements continue to be a priority for the association.

- The Historic Westbank Association was represented by Betty Hersey.

Hersey said 2013 was "another busy and successful year" for the group.

"Our all-day celebration for Westbank's 110th anniversary on Aug. 17, 2013 was a great success," said Hersey.

"We received many words of thanks from those who participated."

She announced the Westbank Farmer's Market is entering its fifth year this summer.

The markets will be held in the Westridge Shopping Centre and 25 vendors are already on board to participate.

- Gary Gylytiuk, president of the Green Bay Property Owner's Association, focused most of his presentation on what the district needs to do to prevent the infilling of Green Bay with waterborne sediments from the surrounding uplands.

"We haven't seen a fully satisfactory proposal from the district to fix the dysfunctional storm sewer," said Gylytiuk.

He said the association was notified the district has tabled any cost and any fixing of the dysfunctional storm sewer to 2022.

"I'm here today to say that's not acceptable."

- Christopher Cruz spoke on behalf of the Greater Westside Board of Trade.

He commended the district for selecting downtown Westbank as the location for a future Municipal Hall.

He also congratulated council on its 2014 strategic priorities, which he called "ambitious."

He questioned whether or not certain strategic priorities were still on target for April, such as work on an online business directory and a marketing strategy for the industrial area.

He also asked council when its way finding signage program will be complete.

- The Glenrosa Residents' Association was represented by Ken Kainz.

Kainz said a major concern is still an evacuation route in case of fire.

He pointed out the Jack Pine service road evacuation route has several challenges of its own.

"In that area, there's no cell phone connection or even radio range," said Kainz.

"The other main complaint is it's a real washboard kind of a road."

He also requested the mosquito control program be extended to the Upper Glenrosa area.

- Al Hildebrandt, president of the Casa Loma Resident Homeowners' Association, said the group was formed seven months ago to become an online and interactive voice for the community in Casa Loma.

Hildebrandt said the CLRHA's top concerns are related to the drainage issues the region has had and the work the district has done to improve the situation, how traffic will be managed with increased development and the creation of a pedestrian/cyclist route connecting W.R. Bennett Bridge to Kalamoir Regional Park.

- Rodney Wright was the final presenter Tuesday night. He represented the Casa Loma Community Association.

He said key changes and improvements have included a traffic calming study, a four-way stop sign at Campbell and Lucinde/Benedick, inclusion of Lakeview watershed in the Storm Water Management Master Plan and a zoning bylaw on long-term moorage.

"DWK has recognized much of the concerns faced by our community," said Wright.

He said the biggest wish of the association is that the district "break the legacy in Casa Loma of infrastructure deficits that have existed in the neighbourhood."

"We just want to ensure that the infrastructure upgrades in the community precede new development, we don't want to see anymore after the fact fixes," said Wright.

He also requested council include Casa Loma as part of the Master Water Plan.

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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