Times may still be be tough economically, but Kelowna does not plan to slow down its spending on capital projects.
The city says it plans to spend more than $89 million on projects in the coming year—either starting work on them or completing jobs already underway.
“It really varies between some big ticket items and a lot of smaller work,” said city spokesman Tom Wilson.
While some of the work will be big ticket items, like the continuation of the $14 million Bernard Avenue revitalization project, $19 million to expand the existing Library parkade downtown and start building a another, new 430-stall parkade downtown, $9.7 million to improve the entrance of the Glenmore landfill and build part of John Hindle Drive and completion of the new $8.2 million UV water treatment system in the Mission, other projects, like construction of the new $5 million new public pier and commercial marina on the downtown waterfront and construction of a $4.5 million transit hub in Rutland will also be completed this year.
In many cases, the bigger projects are already underway and are being built in phases.
But not all the projects that the city plans to build this year will be big ticket items.
The city will also spend $850,000 on improvements at the Kelowna Family Y building in Rutland, which it owns, to fix the cooling system and replace the concrete floor in the building’s women’s change room. The loss of city office space as a result of the 2011 fire that destroyed the Pavillion Building in City Park is prompting a $2 million renovation at City Hall to increase working space and $800,000 will be spend to build new washrooms in City Park.
The city is also planning to spend $1.9 million to start the expansion of Stuart Park downtown, now that the old Water Street Seniors Centre has been demolished to make way for a relocation of the Kelowna Yacht Club.
Unlike previous years, there are not as many road projects planned for the city this year and sewer projects are not on the list because government grants,that are usually available to reduce the cost to benefiting area home owners, have al but dried up in recent years, say city officials.
As a result, most of the capital spending will be on specific projects, which, in some cases, include contributions from outside groups or, in the case of the pier and commercial arena, are being built by companies that will make its money back by operating and maintaining the facility over the next 20 years.
The range of projects outlined by the city includes everything from road resurfacing plans to new linear parks, underground utility replacements and new facilities as well as the the expansion of the Rapid Bus Transit system by adding the Rutland transit exchange and a new, smaller transit exchange at Okanagan College on KLO Road.
Updated information about major city projects is available anytime by clicking on the 2013 Capital Project Map link on the City Projects website page.