Transit parking stalled for now

Attempts to bolster transit use are on hold

Attempts to bolster transit use are on hold.

Regional District of North Okanagan directors have decided not to take immediate action on a staff recommendation to try and pursue land for a park and ride facility for the bus from Vernon to Kelowna.

“The Transit Future plan is being worked on and there won’t be a final report until September, so it (recommendation) is premature,” said director Juliette Cunningham.

Director Rob Sawatzky agreed, saying there is a need to see if the planning process determines if there is a need for a park and ride facility and if property near Okanagan College is the best site.

“The results need to come to all municipal councils and the board first,” he said.

Staff had recommended seeking a long-term lease from the Department of National Defence so  transit users can leave their vehicles on land on Clerke Road.

“The Transit Future plan, currently in the drafting stages, will indicate the need for a park and ride at the south and north ends of the Greater Vernon area,” said Nicole Kohnert, regional engineering services manager.

Kohnert says the benefits to such a facility include access to transit for residents in areas not served by transit, easing parking pressure near the downtown Vernon exchange and reducing traffic on Highway 97.

It was also suggested the Clerke Road site could provide overflow parking for the sports complex once it is open at Okanagan College.

But that concept didn’t go over well with Cunningham.

“Information we were giving out during the referendum was no additional parking would be required,” she said of current college parking being available.

Dale McTaggart, general manager of engineering, says the plan is still to rely on college parking, but  Clerke Road could be a back-up.

“Events do happen where you get more  people than you expect,” he said.