Businesses on Boucherie Road are ready for summer to return now that Phase II of the wine trail is complete.
The upgrade that began in April includes new cycle paths and sidewalks so residents and visitors can tour the wineries vehicle-free. It is set to be completed Dec. 7.
The second phase of upgrades has an estimated cost of $9.1 million and includes a new water main, asphalt, storm mains, concrete curbs and gutters, sidewalks, cycling tracks, street lights, landscaping trees, shrubs and irrigation, retaining walls and large roundabouts at the Hudson Road-Boucherie Road intersection and the Anders Road-Cordova Way-Boucherie Road intersection.
The improvements are welcome, but they took their toll on local businesses.
“In my brief conversations with wineries in the area everyone is down, but this is something that we expected as business owners,” said Bobby Gidda, chair of the Greater Westside Board of Trade and president at Volcanic Hills Estate Winery on Boucherie Road.
“For us at Volcanic Hills it was a fairly decent year considering the construction overall. It was still a good year and with this project that the city has undertaken it will improve our area and set us apart from others in the Okanagan.”
Grizzli Winery was especially affected by the detour that took traffic during a busy tourist season in the Okanagan through neighbourhood roads in Lakeview Heights.
The new winery, which opened in 2016, has reported a 90 to 95 per cent loss in traffic because of the upgrade and that tourist busses saved their summer.
“It has been a great impact and almost 95 per cent of local customers couldn’t get into our property,” said Edwin Chu, general manager. “We are very excited to get back on track, it’s been a long pause in 2018 for all operators.”
The road upgrade and detour that hopes to create a unique wine tasting experience in West Kelowna has actually increased traffic for Mount Boucherie winery on Douglas Road. The detour guided tourists past their road and increased visibility for the winery that is now hoping to expand.
“People right on Boucherie Road were more directly affected… It really slowed people down and brought people to Douglas Road,” said Craig McCullough, vice president of Mount Boucherie winery. “Our volume was up through June, July and August, probably around seven or 11 per cent.”
“We are really excited about the whole finished product for sure.”
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