Kelowna city staff say taxpayers will not be on the hook for the cost to widen a stretch of Glenmore Road between Union and McKinley roads.
But a letter by local engineer Peter Truch, sent to the media earlier this week, suggests that may not be the case. It states if the 2040 Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is adopted by city council, it will be negating a 2009 master servicing agreement with the developer of McKinley Beach, worth at least $31.4 million to four-lane a section of Glenmore Road.
He says taxpayers will pick up the majority of the costs instead.
Yet, council did adopt the 2040 TMP at Monday’s (Jan. 24) council meeting.
Truch claimed in this apparent second attempt by staff to facilitate a deal for the developer, the project was quietly included in the 2040 TMP as Glenmore Road Four-Laning and Glenmore Road Safety Improvements. He also claimed doing so results in a $31.4 million reduction in contributions from the developer to the city’s infrastructure, with the burden being shifted to others, including taxpayers.
City manager Doug Gilchrist said within the original servicing agreement for the area, there was an ability to amend it based on changes over time.
“Those changes have been quite significant,” said Gilchrist.
“With John Hindle Drive coming in and an increased amount of commuting between Kelowna and Lake Country. The traffic associated with the development has not, therefore an adjustment had to be made to ensure we have a financial model that is fair. It’s funded accordingly, in a way that shares the costs across the people that benefit from it and utilize it.”
Coun. Mohini Singh asked bluntly: “Are taxpayers on the hook for something that should have gone to the developer?
“That’s what we’re being accused of.”
“No I don’t believe so,” replied Gilchrist.
“We wouldn’t recommend anything like that.”