Community groups make presentations to council

DWK council members were the ones doing the listening as various community groups made presentations during Tuesday's council meeting.

West Kelowna community groups are used to keeping a close ear on council meetings.

But during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole council meeting, DWK council members were the ones listening.

Eight community groups faced the seven members of council to share their own past, present and future endeavours while also suggesting areas where they felt the district needs to improve.

The acting mayor for the meeting was Coun. David Knowles. He explained that the purpose of the session was for district staff to gather information. He added that there was “no intention to reach any conclusions,” during Tuesday’s meeting.

“(Staff is) taking copious notes and will be reporting back to council,” said Knowles.

Mary Mandarino of the Westside Residents’ and Business Association started things off by making several requests, including a plea that the district review the sign bylaw as soon as possible.

Mayor Doug Findlater said that a review of the bylaw will occur at some point in 2012.

“We hear a lot about that from all perspectives . . . sometime this year we’ll have a roaring debate on it,” said Findlater.

Karen Thompson of the Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce said several chamber members have also shown concern over the sign bylaw.

“The other thing we’ve talked to many people about is the downtown revitalization. It has got to get going; people are very upset about that,” said Thompson.

Larry Mintz of the West Kelowna Residents’ Association shared the group’s background, purpose, past activities, current board of directors and current initiatives.

Mintz explained the issues that the association is currently involved with include: Affordable housing, the Westbank couplet proposal, a West Kelowna urgent care centre, B.C. Assessment Authority anomalies, foreshore and public beach accesses, the WFN land swap issue, Gellatly Bay trails and parks, bylaw enforcement and support for the Mission Hill Winery development.

Rita Milne of the Lakeview Heights Community Association presented a report to council including the association’s history, an overview of 2011 and a projection for 2012.

Gordon Ficke explained the values and history of the Historic Westbank Association. He said that the association is greatly anticipating council’s downtown revitalization plan.

Betty Hersey from the Historic Westbank Association was also on hand to tell council about the Westbank Outdoor Market. She said that the market started in 2010 with 12 vendors. This year, already 33 vendors have already committed to the first market of the summer.

Gary Gylytiuk, president of the Green Bay Property Owners’ Association, started his presentation by illustrating the beauty of Green Bay to DWK council.

He said that 85 per cent of the sedimentation filling Green Bay is from overland soil transfer from the effects of a dysfunctional storm sewer. He told council that the existing storm system needs to be upgraded to prevent continuing contamination of the bay.

Knowles assured Gylytiuk that there would be a full report coming to council on the issue.

Michael Trenn of the Glenrosa Residents’ Association explained the group is currently focused on traffic and transportation issues.

He noted that speeding is an ongoing issue on Webber Road and Glenrosa Road and said that there is a consensus from the neighbourhood that signage is not a deterrent to speeding; therefore, other measures are required to support and enforce the signs.

Casa Loma Community Association was the final group represented on Tuesday.

The association’s top concern was that the district will follow through on the estimated $1 million required to help alleviate the existing surface water management problems that exist in Casa Loma.