Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray rides in a 1956 Ford Sunliner

Kelowna’ $14.3 million Bernard Avenue revitalization is complete

The final phase of the project was officially opened Friday. The project came in on time and on budget.

Less than two years after firing up an excavator to mark the beginning of the Bernard Avenue revitalization, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray cut the ribbon to officially reopen Kelowna’s “Main Street” Bernard Avenue, in its entirety.

The opening of the final section marked completion of the $14.3 million projects, which was done in four phases over 21 months.

“This project was one of the first to be realized out of the Downtown Plan and it has become a catalyst to improving our downtown,” said Gray.

“With new parkades, an expansion of Stuart Park, a $5.6-million investment into downtown’s transit exchange (Queensway) and private developments like the recently completed public pier, the almost completed Kelowna Yacht clubhouse, the proposed Interior Health Building, the Innovation Center and the Westcorp Hotel, it truly is happening downtown.”

With its wider sidewalks, improved lighting and street furniture, its new artwork and revamped utilities under the roadway, Gray called Bernard a “people place” that has transformed what was just a road into a “destination.”

The improvements saw Bernard’s four lanes narrowed to two lanes with a centre turning lane, expanded outdoor retail and café space, the wider sidewalks for pedestrians, intersection plazas and landscaping, as well as the replacement of the angle parking with larger parallel parking spaces.

“On behalf of the Downtown Kelowna Association we are so excited to have the street completed,” said Dustin Sargent, vic-president of the Downtown Kelowna Association. “Thank you to all the people involved, from the contractor to the city, to the businesses that made this process the best it could be.”

For the first time, the city used a phased construction schedule that stopped work during the height of the summer last year and the Christmas season in 2012 and 2013 to mitigate the impact on area merchants. It also employed a comprehensive communications plan that saw a communications official hired to act as the liaison between the city and contractor and the merchants. She was able to handle any questions that came up and provide answers quickly.

Both the project itself and the communications plan used to keep merchants and the pubic informed about the work have been recognized with awards in recent weeks.

Area residents are being encouraged to “discover” the new Bernard Avenue and share photos on the city’s Facebook page, Twitter account or Instagram tagged with #BernardSelfie. Entries will be eligible to win a pair of tickets to see tribute band “God Save the Queen” live in concert.

 

Just Posted

Accidents mount as snow falls

Kelowna drivers are having a tough time with worsening conditions

Kelowna’s global awareness festival set to go

Festival organizers get $22,800 grant from federal government to help stage this year’s events

Bus slams into truck at Kelowna intersection

A transit bus and a pick-up truck came together in the noon hour in Kelowna

Downtown Kelowna shopping mall getting face lift

The Towne Centre Mall on Bernard will be renamed and renovated inside and out

Kelowna man charged in 2013 killing yet to be released

The man charged in the 2013 killing of Kelowna resident Theresa Neville appeared in court Monday.

Scandia Jungle mini golf course reopening

Kelowna - Rutland Elementary students were the first ones to try the revamped course Tuesday

Drawings connect autistic student with the world

Leifen Mitchell-Banks creates colourful cartoon characters at Salmon Arm Secondary.

Lake Country skier named Olympic alternate

Ian Deans will be a back up for the men’s ski cross team in South Korea

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close, union says

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

‘Miraculous that nobody was killed’

Tanker full of aviation fuel involved in Highway 3 crash

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Waters: Ending homelessness in Kelowna is a tall order

City plan is a good start but real key is ongoing work by the entire community

Flying squirrel touches down inside Salmon Arm home

Rodent jumps around residence before homeowers encourage it back outdoors

Most Read