Bus transportation, as well as other alternative forms of moving people and goods around the Central Okanagan, will be part of a new regional transportation plan.—Image: Capital News file

Work kicks off on first regional transportation plan for Central Okanagan

Municipal councils being asked for input in “visioning workshops”

The first steps have been taken towards a regional transportation plan for the Central Okanagan.

Kelowna city council participated in what was called a “visioning workshop” Monday—a gathering to get input about what council members want to see addressed in the plan.

Similar workshops will be held with municipal councils in Lake Country, West Kelowna and Peachland, as well as with the Westbank First Nation Council. in the coming weeks

Consultant Stephen Power told Kelowna council the plan is more than just a look at the local road network. It will include all forms of transportation, as well as how to people move to and from what he described as “regional” destinations inth area.

But while the plan will look out as far as 2040, at least one councillor said he wants to see it look even farther, so steps are made to prepare for the day when services such as light rapid transit connecting the entire Okanagan Valley arrive.

Charlie Hodge said if that long-range view is not made, and planning starts to facilitate it later, the plan will simply repeat what has been done before.

But Mayor Colin Basran defended the current process.

“We have to crawl before we walk,” said Basran told Hodge, with Coun. Gail Given, who is chairwoman of the Central Okanagan Regional District adding: “And we have to walk before we drive.”

Power said while the plan is confined to the Central Okanagan—in part because of conditions of the gas tax grant that is partially funding it—linkages with Vernon and Penticton can be talked about. They will not, however, be the focus, he said

Preliminary steps have been made for the regional transportation plan including four “pop-up” open houses held last year in Kelowna, Lake Country, West Kelowna and Peachland. A total of about 250 people turned out for the four sessions, said Power and the participants contributed input about what they would like to see in the plan.

Like council, they said some of that included not just roads and the movement of people and goods in automobiles, but alternative forms of transportation such as walking and cycling. Power said some of the issues that wil also need to be looked at closely is the impact of technology on future transportation needs requirements.

The plan’s vision statement says it is an attempt to create a “balanced and resilient transportation plan for the Central Okanagan that moves people and goods in a safe, efficient, accessible and affordable manner, while supporting and enhancing the region’s economy, social network and natural ecosystem.”

The plan is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Meanwhile, the province has put the study it is conducting on the Highway 97 corridor through the Central Okanagan on hold. That study is looking at, among other things, a second crossing of Okanagan Lake.

A second crossing was not mentioned at he Kelowna council session Monday until near the end, when Coun. Luke Stack raised it as something that should be considered as part of a regional transportation plan.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan Shuswap weather: Glimpses of sun expected on another wintry day

The sun will be peeking out from behind the clouds for the next few days

Urban Distillery + Liquor moves to West Kelowna

The proprietor has big dreams for the new space

World Community Film Festival returns to Kelowna

The festival celebrates its 16th anniversary

Line-up for Kelowna Fan Experience 2019 to be announced

The line-up will be announced Feb. 22

Former homeless man hopes to inspire change for others in Kelowna

Dean Schaffler was one of the more recognizable men living on the street in Kelowna

5 Events to check out this weekend local ski hills

Check out this new column from Okanagan events guru Christina Ferreira

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

‘A little baloney’ in PM’s claim about solicitor-client privilege on SNC-Lavalin

The Conservatives and NDP want Trudeau to waive that privilege so Wilson-Raybould can offer her side of the story

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000

But most analysts see a limited market for foldable-screen phones

Alcohol policies fizzle for Canadian governments as harms overflow: reports

About 80 per cent of Canadians drink, and most enjoy a drink or two

Most Read