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Council sets new direction for travel survey

The City of Vernon has reversed gears on a survey of residents’ travel habits.

Council decided Monday to pursue Regional District of North Okanagan funds for a valley travel survey although it had voted not to do so March 12.

“There’s been a change in people’s driving habits,” said Coun. Catherine Lord, adding that the need for more data is the reason why she changed her position.

Support also came this time from Coun. Brian Quiring, who had opposed the plan two weeks ago.

“We all ran on sustainability and this is something we need to do,” he said.

“I’d like to know how many people are riding bicycles. Even if we don’t get support from the regional partners, we need to consider doing it.”

In 2007, the city spent $60,000 to canvass north and central Okanagan residents on mobility patterns while Kelowna provided $120,000.

Kelowna wants to proceed with another survey in September to gather updated information. It will be seeking financial assistance from its partners around the Regional District of Central Okanagan board table.

A cost for a 2012 study has not been determined and even if RDNO participated, the city would pick up 68 per cent of the grant.

Besides Quiring and Lord, Mayor Rob Sawatzky also changed his vote while Councillors Patrick Nicol and Mary-Jo O’Keefe remained committed to sending the  request to RDNO.

“By denying the study, we could lose more money because we don’t have current information,” said O’Keefe of seeking government infrastructure grants.

Remaining opposed to forwarding the  funding request to NORD were Councillors Juliette Cunningham and Bob Spiers.

“If we don’t get support from the regional partners, we will pick up the whole tab,” said Cunningham, who is concerned about the potential cost.

Cunningham believes a better use of resources would be using the money for transit.

“We’re well known for lots of studies and no tangible results,” she said.

 

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