Forget previous plans for the replacement of the Lakeshore Road bridge that spans Mission Creek.
Kelowna city staffers are taking off the table drawings that were previously shown in open houses, and offering a more holistic view of an upgrade of the well-used road through the Mission.
Now they’re looking to engage the public on their view of an upgrade aimed at increasing the capacity of the main wastewater track, improving the continuity of the Greenway and the connectivity of transportation —and the bridge is just a small part.
“We wanted a process that was all inclusive, and to capture all input from community going forward,” said Peter Truch, manager of transportation and mobility.
First of three stages to actualizing new plans is a facilitated workshop for participants aimed at getting a feel for the “values and concerns” related to the plan.
Next, there will be another open house, where the information gleaned from the previous session is put to work in preliminary designs.
Lastly, there will be another open house that will close the loop for all involved parties.
Although the new process includes more public consultations, mayor and council did express some confusion about the move that appeared to be backtracking.
“So there wasn’t a bridge already planned,” Mayor Sharon Shepherd asked. “That’s what people thought…We have residents who are trying to design a plan for us.”
City staffer Randy Cleveland explained that previous plans were designed with a bid for Gas Tax funding at the top of mind.
This is a road that would ordinarily be paid for with a combination of taxation of the public and development cost charge fees, which come from developers.
To keep the burden on the taxpayer down, they went for the federal funding, but needed a “defensible plan” and the $8 million girder bridge plan that Mission residents may have been familiar with, fit that need.
“When we started this process we went to the public with an open house, before a Gas Tax application was done,” said Cleveland, explaining that the feedback gained from that session taught city staffers that there may be a need for some further tweaks to the plan.
The renewed process, he said, is not about throwing away past work.
“It’s a matter of reconfirming and augmenting criteria…to ensure everybody has had an option to discuss criteria,” he said.
“It doesn’t hurt us one bit to come forward and say this is the history…if we’ve missed something, this is the time to talk about it and if we’ve missed something really significant, then the workshop will allow us to re-prioritize.”
An invite-only meeting on the project will be held in November and a public meeting is slated for January.