West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom speaks to the Greater Westside Board of Trade for the annual state of the city address on March 4. 
(Mackenzie Britton - Black Press Media)

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom speaks to the Greater Westside Board of Trade for the annual state of the city address on March 4. (Mackenzie Britton - Black Press Media)

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom reflects on 2020

West Kelowna continues to prosper despite pandemic challenges

West Kelowna continues to prosper despite pandemic challenges.

This year was like no other, impacting the way we live, learn and work. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic we adapted quickly with the closures of 17 city facilities, conducted regular briefings, prepared daily video messages and moved council meetings to Westbank Lions Community Centre. Since then, we have continued to be flexible in accordance with provincial health orders.

However, in these extraordinary times, we continue to see building and business activity remain strong, reporting $95 million in construction value of new building permits in the third quarter and 433 new business licences totalling 2,789.

This was a year of infrastructure investment for our city. The Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant will bring clean, safe and reliable drinking water to half of our population with plenty of room to grow. Construction has started and thanks to the support of a $41-million federal and provincial grant and the authorization of the long-term borrowing model, the plant will be in operation in 2022.

We saw the $5.17-million transportation improvements for Glenrosa Road create a safer and walkable neighbourhood with much needed drainage improvements. The $2-million Gellatly Bridge project along our beautiful waterfront was completed.

Overall, we have added 2.2-lane kilometers of new sidewalks, 1.9-lane km of bicycle lanes and 14-lane km of resurfaced roads.

Another success story is the opening of the Urgent and Primary Care Centre in November.

The centre now serves the Greater Westside and will become an important part of integrated health services for our residents.

We are grateful to Interior Health and the ministry of health for making this a reality.

OURWK Community Visioning initiative began in the summer, the first step towards updating the Official Community Plan. Thousands of comments were received forming a Draft Community Vision created by the community.

Feedback opportunities remain open until Jan. 6 at ourwk.ca.

As a community passionate about our arts and entertainment, we missed gathering at City events. Engaging the community through new digital tools was one way we could reconnect.

We hosted and participated in 700 digital meetings and workshops, launched an online community engagement platform that showcased a self-guided Twinkle Tour, improved outreach through a new e-news subscriptions service and the creation of 60 videos.

Finally, 2020 was a year of collaboration and partnership actions. We met often with our good neighbour Westbank First Nation to share our strategic priorities and to explore more ways that we can work together.

Council is grateful for the provincial support throughout the pandemic.

We also appreciated the collective actions amongst our local municipal and regional partners to put in measures to protect our communities from COVID-19 and to plan for post pandemic economic recovery.

This year has been a tough year for many, both financially and emotionally. But our community has met these challenges with compassion and resiliency. The City of West Kelowna, is proud of and grateful for all that our staff, our residents, our businesses, and our partners have accomplished.

We continue to move our community forward in many positive ways.

West Kelowna council and staff wish you and your families a safe and peaceful holiday season and Happy New Year!

Mayor Gord Milsom

West Kelowna

Just Posted

Pictured is a bear in Chilliwack in Sept. 17, 2008. (Jill Hayward/Contributed)
UPDATE: Bear has gone back to the woods, Kelowna police say

The BC Conservation Service has been notified of bear in Cameron Avenue area

A single motorcycle parked outside of the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse at 837 Ellis Street on July 9, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Hells Angels prospect sentenced to 9 months in jail for aggravated assault

Colin Michael Bayley pleaded guilty to the downtown Kelowna assault earlier this month

Rescue crews search for a missing diver in Okanagan Lake at Hot Sands Beach by the William R. Bennett Bridge on Sunday, May 16. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Missing Okanagan Lake diver presumed drowned, recovery efforts continue

Boaters are asked to stay away from the area as crews continue the search

(Lindsey Roche/Contributed)
Kelowna children enjoy drive-in movie thanks to support from the community

A daycare in the Mission area gets creative during the COVID-19 pandemic

File photo (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Overturned kayak in Mission Creek prompts police response

Kelowna RCMP is looking to speak with anyone who may know the individual associated with the kayak

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)
3 kayakers rescued in North Okanagan

Shuswap, Vernon search and rescue teams make swift-water rescue Sunday

Salmon Arm RCMP are seeking witnesses to a single-vehicle collision that occurred on Highway 1 on May 16, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seek persons who transported injured driver, motorcycle to hospital

Motorcyclist involved in a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1

The first of the extended closures is wrapping up, with the Trans-Canada highway re-opening on weekends for travel. (Jack Stuemple photo)
Trans-Canada highway to open on weekends

The highway will be open starting on Friday for the long weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

A kite surfer gets some help out of the water from his wife and dog after the wind left his sails on Swan Lake Monday morning. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Downed parachuter on Swan Lake just a novice kite surfer

Emergency calls were downgraded after reports of a downed parachute changed

Most Read