Eight associations representing residents and businesses throughout West Kelowna shared their concerns with council during a special meeting Tuesday.
Mayor Doug Findlater said the purpose of the meeting wasn’t to debate issues; rather, for district staff and council to hear feedback from various community groups.
A common theme among the neighbourhood associations was the need for traffic calming.
– Smith Creek Neighbourhood Association volunteer Dave Compton said residents are concerned about drivers speeding on their streets.
“Ever since the opening of Asquith and Ironridge Roads, we have anecdotal evidence that there seems to be more traffic. There seems to be speeders and short cutters who are cutting across Ironridge Road, Wildhorse Drive (to) Smith Creek Road,” said Compton.
He added the community is seeking better communication with the district, increased by-law enforcement, a community venue and improved green spaces.
– The Glenrosa Residents’ Association was represented by Michael Trenn. He said areas of concern were the Morningside Drive and Glenrosa Road intersection, an evacuation route in case of fire, horse signage and mosquito control.
“There hasn’t been any movement on a second route out,” said Trenn.
“The issue is that the alternate suggestions to move people out of there…are probably more likely to be more dangerous than the route that we used during 2009.”
Mayor Doug Findlater said it’s part of the Transportation Master Plan that’s still being developed.
“It’s going to be a very costly item, in the tens of millions of dollars, so we have to look for funding,” said Findlater.
– The Shannon Lake Neighbourhood Association was one group that had positive things to say about traffic calming.
The district recently committed to implement six measures in the area with the hope of making the roads safer.
“We’re in a much better place than we were this time last year,” said Dave Mathieson, who spoke on behalf of the association.
Many in the Shannon Lake neighbourhood are not happy about the location of the bulk water station. Mathieson asked that the district focus on making it as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
“I hope council can provide some direction to make a very good effort on that corner.”
– Bob Hardy represented the Casa Loma Commnity Association Tuesday.
He said the first upgrade to the storm water management system in the region led to a few problems as the ditches were deeper than residents anticipated. He asked for better communication going forward.
Hardy noted a new development at the end of Benedick Road is also of primary concern to residents.
“Casa Loma Community Association will be evaluating any new development to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place to meet the needs of the existing community,” said Hardy
He added the district needs an effective plan to deal with the necessary water supply and increased traffic along the road.
– Historic Westbank Association president Gordon Ficke spoke about an interest in establishing a park to commemorate the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail.
He added the association is planning a family event at the Westbank Lions Community Centre Saturday, Aug. 17 to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the community.
Betty Hersey spoke about the Westbank Farmers’ Market, which is sponsored by the association.
“Last summer the market continued to be visited by many return customers. We received many positive comments from vendors and customers alike,” said Hersey.
Coun. Rick de Jong said the farmers’ market is becoming part of the cultural heritage in West Kelowna.
– Michael Trenn stepped back up to the podium to speak on behalf of the West Kelowna Residents’ Association.
He mentioned several issues, including: Anomalies in B.C. property values assessments, the push for an urgent care centre, an unenforced burning permit bylaw, environmental damage due to bikes and quads, secondary suites, municipal policing priorities and ineffective road designs.
Coun. Gord Milsom said he’d be interested in seeing the long list of issues prioritized by the association.
“Because they affect us in different ways, we would say that all of the things that we brought today are very important. They affect us in the short-, medium- and long-term,” said Trenn.
– The Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce indicated its support for the district’s recent market sounding exercise for a new municipal hall.
“The chamber would like to see City Hall move into the downtown Westbank core. It’s our understanding that many business owners believe that a civic centre or a similar anchor building is required for regrowth to occur in downtown Westbank,” said advocacy chair Kris Smart.
Smart added the chamber endorses the creation of an online business directory and a shop local program to encourage Westside businesses to do business with each other. He added the district should rethink its current tender policy to give local bids higher priority.
– The Green Bay Property Owners Association used their entire presentation to speak about a much-needed dredging project (see story, page A32).
District staff took notes during all the presentations. Reports on various issues will likely come back to council within the next two months.