A cyclist enjoys what will eventually be a cycling path along Pelmewash Parkway. Lake Country council accepted the concept plan for the parkway last week.

Lake Country completes phase 1 of Pelmewash Planning as parkway concept plan accepted

Public consultation phase now done; up next is detailed design work on parkway with eventual cost pegged as high as $12 to $13 million

When the dust settles on what Pelmewash Parkway will eventually look like, the overall price tag could be as high as $12- to $13 million.

That was the word from the consulting firm that presented a final public engagement and concept plan for the future development of Pelmewash Parkway to Lake Country council on Nov. 19, the end of phase one in the development of a stretch of road that was once part of Highway 97.

The road has yet to be handed over from the province to the municipality but it will eventually come under Lake Country control and become a multi-use recreational corridor including including separate bike and walking lanes as well as lake access to Wood Lake.

“This is a vision based on what came out of the public and council sessions,” said consultant Gabi Haas. “We had some great input. There were some controversies which made for some interesting sessions. In between our public meetings we did analysis and site visits. This is a guide to the possibilities of where you can go. There are some concrete recommendations about what the top priorities were from the public sessions.”

Haas said when all is said and done, the high-end cost estimate will be between $12 and $13 million, although Lake Country has said it will apply for grants along the way hoping to offset the costs.

“As the project gets refined, the budget will get refined along with it,” said Lake Country planning director Mark Koch. “There is a wide range of what it could eventually cost.”

In the meantime the district accepted the concept plan and closed the books on the public consultation period for the future development of the parkway.

“There was ample opportunity for anyone in the public to step up and say what they want to see,” said coun. Rob Geier. “It’s an amazing piece of property and we have to do it right. I know it’s early and we don’t know what the costs are, if we have the money or what’s in the budget. But I like the idea. I think the first thing we have to do is take care of the road.”

Most of the council comments were positive although coun. Penny Gambell said not enough attention was paid to the possible economic benefits of the new parkway.

“It seems a little light approach to economic activity and economic development,” she said. “It seems like there was a strong emphasis on cutting the road into two and that would have serious economic impacts. I feel the economic area is somewhat light.”

The consultant said that although closing the parkway from through traffic was considered, the consultants were not recommending that approach at this time.

Negotiations to hand over the old highway from the province to the district are continuing and its unknown when an official announcement will come from the provincial government. In the meantime the next phase of the development of the Pelmewash Parkway is detailed design work, taking the concept plan and turning it into actual development. It’s a long term project with no defined timeline or budget as of yet and Lake Country council was happy the project is moving along.

“This is a great relief. It (the concept plan) really captures our vision,” said Mayor James Baker. “We don’t have to get something going right away. We can still get advice from parks and heritage and the Okanagan Indian Band who are interested in some of the areas. This presents us with a concept plan and now we can really spend the money when we can get it and we know what our end product will be. It’s good planning.”

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