Is a free road connecting the upper Mission to south-east Kelowna worth delaying several previously approved Kelowna road projects, some for for as long as 10 years?
That’s the question the city will ask residents as its heads out to gather public input about a proposal to complete a two-kilometre stretch of the South Perimeter Road between Gordon Drive and Stewart Road.
A developer has agreeed to foot the entire $7.6 million cost of the two-kilometre stretch of road road, a project that would normally include a 15 per cent “taxpayer assist” that city staff estimates could be as much as $1 million.
Completion of the South Perimeter Road was not scheduled until 2025 because of the lack of development at the far south end of the city. But with the offer from the developer, there is a chance to have it paid for in its entirety and save money.
But there would be a trade off.
While council went to great lengths Monday to stress that the public is not being asked about the proposed alignment of the new road—that was set in the 1990s—residents will be asked if they are wiling to see other road projects delayed in order to have it built at the developer’s cost.
“We’re not just going to blaze ahead and damn the public,” said Mayor Walter Gray speaking about the plan to seek public input.
While he conceded the final say on how to proceed with the road will rest with the next city council after the November civic elections, he said his council should find out what the public thinks.
Included in the projects that could be delayed is work such as adding turning lanes, curb gutters and other improvements to existing roads in the Mission.
Building the proposed section of the South Perimeter Road would provide another access and egress to the Upper Mission, said city staff, as well as spur more development in the area, lead to improved transit and possibly seed up the construction of a planned new middle school.