Despite concerns about parking, cyclist safety and the removal of Katsura trees, West Kelowna will go ahead with the third phase of Gellatly Road upgrades this July.
The project will extend approximately 700 metres from Angus Drive northward on Gellatly Road to just past the CNR Wharf. Improvements will also be made to about 350 metres of the west half of Boucherie Road.
Upgrades will include cycling lanes, parallel parking on the east side of the road, a new retaining wall between the road and existing waterfront walkway, pedestrian outlooks, street furniture, street lights and improvements to the existing pathway.
The project will also see crews remove and replace existing Katsura trees along the waterfront trail.
According to Rob Mueller, manager of engineering, the district’s arborist inspected the Katsura trees and determined they were in poor to moderate health and in a constant state of stress: Mostly caused by poor soil conditions and an inadequate irrigation system.
A few citizens have voiced concerns over the decision to get rid of the existing trees; however, the Gellatly Bay Trails and Park Society supported the district’s decision.
Coun. Rick de Jong said that the parallel parking spaces that will be created through the upgrades may provide further problems.
“I’m concerned about encouraging bicycles to run beside parallel parking,” said de Jong.
“I also have a concern about boats and trailers parking there and taking up multiple spots.”
According to Gary O’Rourke, director of engineering, it could cost an additional $500,000 to develop angle parking stalls where parallel parking is currently planned.
According to Coun. Duane Ophus, the upgrades are an example of the district doing the best it can with limited options.
“There is no perfect solution for this situation. We’ve been talking about it for quite some time and I think staff has done the very best that they could to come up with every reasonable compromise to move this project forward,” said Ophus.
“What we’ve done so far (through the first two phases) has been phenomenally (received) by the vast majority of citizens in West Kelowna.”
Construction on the third phase should be finished by the middle of November.