Council had plenty of praise for city staff in putting together the comprehensive plan.
“I remember a day when we talked about a transportation master plan, and really the only that would be in the report would be roads,” said Coun. Luke Stack. “What you’ve presented is a huge evolution in the last 15 to 20 years where now when we look at this plan, yes there are some roads, but we have 21 transit objectives and 41 bike objectives. There was a day when even none of the bike lanes would be considered. There has been a big shift in how we think about getting around and I think this plan captures those movements.”
Staff identified 130 recommendations over six categories in the plan. They include transit, road connections, maintenance and renewal, biking, neighbourhood streets, programs, and emerging technologies.
While Coun. Ryan Donn found the report to be “phenomenal”.
“It’s line with all the different presentations and information about where we’re putting people and how we’re moving people and different ideas that we’re looking at. I appreciate that staff continues to bring new ideas forward.”
The report was four years in the planning, including engagement with the public and stakeholders. The city has grown by 50 thousand people since 1995 when the last transportation master plan was done. Kelowna is expected to grow by 45 thousand residents by 2040.
The plan will not come cheap. It could end up costing more than $1 billion over the next 20 years, paid for by increased property taxes and Development Cost Charges (DCC). Coun. Loyal Wooldridge asked about keeping costs in check.
“We’ll keep the plan closely coordinated with DCC bylaws,” said Mariah VanZerr, Strategic Transportation Planning Manager. “That goes through a process every two years or so of updating costs. As we move forward we’ll also be looking at updating costs as we know more. It’s a 20-year plan and some of these projects have more detail than others. Those costs will be programmed into the city’s 10-year plan and annual budget process.”
The city will launch its 2040 Master Transportation Plan website sometime this week. Residents will be able to find the information they need, use interactive maps, and better understand the city’s plan. It will also make it easier for city staff to update the plane going forward.
“Transportation is very top of mind for our residents,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “I would encourage anyone who is wondering what the plan is, this is the plan. Please have a look at it. You will find it is very well balanced, but as council has pointed out transportation is not cheap.”