City of Kelowna shows signs of economic gain

Kelowna city council is congratulating itself, and the staff at city hall, for an impressive last quarter.

Monday afternoon, general manager of corporate sustainability Paul Macklem delivered a quarterly report stating city hall is processing development applications totaling the highest construction value since 2010 with $159.5 million worth of development processes on the books to date, compared to $153.7 million by this time last year and $128.98 million by the same in 2012.

Passenger numbers at the airport are also higher this year with each month of the last quarter exceeding those of 2013—in April by 9 per cent—and that had the mayor glad-handing the meeting's audience.

"Congratulations to the nine of us and to the staff, really, for an incredible quarter just reported," said Mayor Walter Gray, who has consistently stated his tenure as mayor is about opening the city to business.

As development is a driving force in the area, Macklem's note that more new lots will be approved in 2014 than in any of the last five years suggests the city is certainly attracting the investment Gray promised. Meantime, airport's bustling business can be tied to the addition of new Fort McMurray commuter flights. This fall, direct flights to San Francisco will follow.

The report lists everything from simple accomplishments, like the 316 adopt-a-stream volunteers the city has fostered, to the complex, like winning the bid to host the Creative City Summit in 2015 and the new water systems asset management plan, just drafted by leveraging UBCO's talent pool so the city will know when to replace things like storm sewers and water mains.

Macklem pointed to the Bernard Avenue revitalization, the Lakeshore Road bridge project and Queensway bus loop improvements as some of the more tangible projects the city has accomplished in the recent months.


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