West Kelowna council commits more funding for wildfire fight and more

Wildfire mitigation and storm drain operations were among the funding additions

West Kelowna city council made headway in addressing lingering issues leftover from 2018.

It wasn’t on the agenda, but the B.C. speculation tax, which will hit West Kelowna later in 2019, was a main topic of discussion at the beginning of council. Council members are still concerned with how the tax will impact the people of West Kelowna.

“We need to respond to this tax, not ignore it,” said Coun. Doug Findlater.

RELATED: West Kelowna council tentatively sets tax hike in budget

Council moved on and proceeded to pass the first three motions of the agenda. Council will look to add a marketing and social media co-ordinator to the communications team in hopes to help the staff push community involvement and engagement online.

Council then designated a $50,000 increase for wildfire mitigation to the fire and rescue division of West Kelowna. Though West Kelowna Fire Rescue have applied for a seperate $100,000 grant from the B.C. governement, this $50,000 will go directly into the operation budget, as they await a reponse from the B.C. government.

“This $50,000 shows the government that we have skin in the game,” said West Kelowna Fire Rescue Chief Jason Brolund. The WKFR has recencly increased their firefighting staff from 32 to 40.

The next motion passed by council was to allocate an additional $100,000 for operational expenses to storm drains in West Kelowna. Though $800,000 has already been put towards preparing for the wet season, council felt another $100,000 would be benficial to high impact areas like Shannon Lake and Glenrosa.

RELATED: City of West Kelowna asks for help clearing snow

Council authorized grant payments to several West Kelowna agencies and groups including the Westside Celebration Society, Westside Health Network Society, and the West Kelowna Youth Ambassador Program.

Residents of the Glenrosa area in West Kelowna asked council for additional saftety concerns to be added to the community.

Concerns including an addtional exit out of the area, more traffic and speeding control from RCMP, improvements to fire mitigation in the area, better cell phone coverage throughout, and more.

BC Transit will discontinue Route 31 Gellatly bus route after low numbers of communters using the bus route from Westbank Exchange in downtown West Kelowna to the Gellatly Bay waterfront, West Kelowna Yacht Club, the Gellatly Nut Farm and Pebble Beach on Whitworth Road.

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