Rutland town centre seeks revitalizing

The Uptown Rutland business community has a long wish list of improvements it would like to see in their town centre.

  • Nov. 18, 2011 11:00 a.m.

The Uptown Rutland business community has a long wish list of improvements it would like to see in their town centre, but none are gaining much traction with the council or mayoral candidates.

Deb Guthrie, executive director of the Uptown Rutland Business Association, says the downtown core has dominated the political debate thus far.

“We recognize the importance people put to the downtown core, but it’s one of three commercial centres identified in Kelowna, and one of them badly needs work,” said Guthrie, alluding to Rutland’s needs.

“We can see now what the revitalization work started a decade ago is helping the Pandosy district to grow. We need to see that happen (in Rutland) as well. We haven’t seen much change here since the 1970s.”

Guthrie says is laying the groundwork for a building facade program that URBA is working on in conjunction with city hall to develop a business plan for inclusion in the 2013 city budget.

“As much as we like the tax incentive revitalization concept the city is advocating, it doesn’t work for a lot of buildings in Rutland unless you tear them down for new ones and add square footage, and quite a few building owners aren’t in a position to do that,” Guthrie said.

“So we feel the facade program is another way to help revitalize our area.”

URBA also suffered a setback, she said, when the Shepherd Road transit station proposal was put on the backburner.

“The Shepherd Road extension is very important to us. We are told now something will come forward in the spring of 2012 between the city and regional transit. But the funding to do anything drys up in 2013, so it’s critical we get this done,” Guthrie said.

She said the Shepherd Road station can lead to improvements to Roxby Park that borders on Highway 33, which city hall has put on hold pending approval of a final plan for the Shepherd bus loop.

“Everything has kind of stopped because the transit development hasn’t happened. Whatever happens with Roxby Park has to tie in with the transit development.”

Guthrie said URBA members have many issues with Highway 33, from snow removal to sidewalk improvements, but realize that because it is a provincial highway, it is the highways ministry that must be lobbied for those changes.

“We understand that Highway 33 is just that, a highway, but we’d like to see some beautification projects happen along that corridor, and to see it be more pedestrian friendly for local businesses,” Guthrie noted.

Speaking of business, Guthrie said URBA advocates for more business-minded people to be sitting around the council table. “I know that concern is out there from other people, but we feel the pendulum may have swung too far away the business community in recent years,” Guthrie noted.

She cited the example of the John Howard Society facility on Rutland Road North, which took away parking spaces for nearby businesses to accommodate the new building, currently under construction.

“We would have liked to see some retail or office space component included on the ground floor, but that was something neither the city or John Howard people wanted to get involved in.

“And the loss of parking spaces resulted in two businesses having to move elsewhere.”


Just Posted

UPDATE: Smoke rising from Okanagan Mountain Park hills

Lightning may have sparked a fire in the hills across from Peachland

Lightning strikes across B.C. Interior

Residents are being asked to go inside until last rumble of thunder

Update: Lightning sparks blaze above Summerland

Firefighters are battling the small fire from the area that occurred Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.

UPDATE: Crews battle wildfire near Big White Road

Joe Rich Fire Department responding alongside Big White Fire Department and provincial crews.

Lovesick cabaret hopes to captivate Kelowna

The one night only show is on Thursday

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Lightning sparks wildfires in Vernon

Tuesday night storm causes wildfire in BX and residential fire in East Hill

Crash closes Highway 5A in both directions

A collision has shut down Highway 5A about 22 kilometres south of the junction with Highway 97C

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Pike Mountain fire continues to grow – quadruples in 24 hours

Fire threatens area consumed in 2017 by a 3,500 hectare blaze

Vernon Knights hire Van Horlick

New head coach of Junior B franchise in Armstrong

St. Albert knocks down Canadians

Finals of Valley of the Champions

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Most Read