More money needed for the future development of Kelowna parks

The city needs to spend more on park development, says a report which will presented to council

The City of Kelowna needs to put more funding towards park development, says a report to be presented to council Monday.

According to the city staff report, 82 per cent of visitors listed well maintained/high quality parks and beaches as important and 69 per cent of visitors said they plan to participate in water activities, as well as attending the beaches and parks.

In Kelowna, there is currently 280 hectares of parkland available for its 127,000 residents. The aim is to have 2.2. hectares for every 1,000 people, which the city is currently meeting.

For the next 20 years, $9.9 million will be needed each year for park development, equalling $198 million, says the staff report.

About $3 million is spent each year for parks development funding, but half of that is spent on existing park components.

“The difference between the funding target and the existing level of funding is approximately $8.4 million per year,” the report states.

City staff recommends to increase general municipal property taxation by two per cent, a shift from parks acquisition to parks development and a reduction in the parks development cost charge taxation assist and parks revenues.

This option would generate $5.1 million per year.

“Although it does not reach the target of $8.4 million, it draws upon all of the options where council would like to press forward. It also includes a reduction in the DCC taxation assist, which affords council greater flexibility in the capital planning process. It also includes parks revenues to increase the diversity of the financial load,” says the report.

Currently, the city has 15 hectares of neighbourhood park space, 27 hectares of community parks, 16 hectares of recreational park space and 12 hectares of citywide space that is listed as future park space.

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carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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