Representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and their consultants provided information to Council on the Okanagan Lake Second Crossing Project.
The project is in Phase 1 with the Central Okanagan Planning Study (COPS). This phase involves data collection and analysis which has been completed. Now an assessment of future needs is underway which will be followed by exploration of options and recommendations for the future, likely in 2016. Consultation is expected to be undertaken at every step. Council was advised that, at this stage, every option is on the table and being assessed. The Ministry and consultants will host an open house this month. Questions that are being pondered as part of the study include:
· How will future congestion affect West Kelowna?
· What is the most important function Highway 97 should serve through West Kelowna?
· Can the highway facilitate community revitalization and how?
· Should we try to balance high mobility (lower congestion and shorter travel times) and high access (frequent connections to communities)?
West Kelowna Councillors provided encouragement for the Ministry and consultants to look seriously at realigning the Highway 97 couplet through Westbank Centre. Council will be provided with options at an upcoming meeting to determine a position statement to provide to the Ministry and its consultants.