Rutland received plenty of attention Monday at Kelowna council’s weekly public meeting.
In addition to approving plans for a new $6 million ultra-violet water treatment system for approximately 20,000 water users on the Back Mountain Irrigation District’s system, council also gave the green light to new $100,000 plan to ask the public how the money can be spent to improve the city’s most populous residential area.
The BMID water treatment plant will be built on five acres in the Joe Rich area and will improve water quality already considered the best in the city. The land it is to be located on is in the Agricultural Land Reserve but the commission that overseas the reserve ruled last year that it could be used for the new plant.
The plant is expected to be operational next year and will be tied in with plans for a much more expensive new reservoir for the BMID system, one that will require funding from either the province or the federal government, or both.
Meanwhile, the Our Rutland campaign will see the city put up $100,000 and ask the public to submit ideas for how the money should be spent to improve the Rutland area. Mayor Walter Gray said in addition, the city’s public art fund could be used to get more pieces of public are created for the area.
Described by the city as a potential catalyst and one to help generate positive momentum through community-determined, Rutland-focussed actions, the Our Rutland project is a partnership between the city, the Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA), the Rutland Residents Association and The Rutland Unified Stakeholders Team (TRUST).
According to the city, the money could be used for one large project or several smaller ones. It is one-time funding and cannot be used for projects already identified in previous planning documents, for re-branding or marketing the area or for Highway 33 improvements, as they are the jurisdiction of the province.
The work(s) must be implemented or constructed by Sept. 30 and must have the support of the community.
In her report to council on the initiative, sustainability co-ordinator Michelle Kam said $25 million has been spent by the city on capital investments in Rutland over the last two years, providing new transit facilities, parks, sidewalks and landscaping, as well as improvements to recreation facilities. But the city wanted to do more.
She said the neighbourhood has the best established system of parks in the city and in this year’s budget, council has allotted more than $1 million for the area, including $600,000 for the Bulman Road Bridge improvements, $400,000 for improvements to the sports fields in Rutland Centennial Park, $70,000 for lighting improvements at Rutland Arena and the $100,000 for the Our Rutland project.
Rutland (work) isn’t finished yet and it’s really getting ready to go as a community,” said Mayor Walter Gray, who joined a chorus of supporters on council for the new initiative.
The public will be asked to register with the city to propose ideas and vote on ideas for the money and can do so online at getinvolved.keowna.ca, by email at ourRutland@kelowna.ca, by phone at 250-469-8982 or in person at the URBA office, 148 Valleyview Road in Rutland.
During February there will be a series of in-person opportunities to propose and review already presented ideas, including at the:
• URBA Uptown After Hours event Feb. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club,
• Plaza 33 Shopping Centre, Feb. 6 from noon to 2:30 p.m.
• Willow Park Plaza Shopping Centre, Feb. 6 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Rutland Centennial Ha Flea Market, Feb. 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. to noon
• Rutland Activities Centre, Feb. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
• YMCA, Feb. 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“I’m really excited with this,” said Coun. Mohini Singh. “We’ve talked about Rutland for so long. I’m happy to see this moving ahead.”
The ideas will be gathered between now and Feb. 20 and can be shared and passed around on social media networks such as Twitter (#OurRutland) and Facebook (facebook/cityofkelowna) to gain support.
From Feb. 20 to March 5, Kam said a feasibility analysis will take place of the ideas proposed, there will be a vote on a shortlist of ideas in mid-March and a tendering or bid process will be held for the successful idea(s) in April. Project implementation will take place from May to September and city staff will measure the success of the initiative and report back to council in October or November.
Council Gail Given said the Rutland project will be a good launching point for similar projects in other city neighbourhoods.
Rutland is the city’s most populous residential neighbourhood and after years of watching other areas receive what many residents believed was more attention from City Hall then their area was getting, been seen council focus more on Rutland in recent years.