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Premier talks 2nd crossing

Kelowna City Council had a chance to sit down with the Premier during Christy Clark's brief tour through her Westside-Kelowna riding Wednesday.

The Premier was in town to announce $100,000 in government funding for Skate Canada International which comes to Kelowna at the end of October and the completion of flood mitigation work to McDougal Creek in West Kelowna.

Kelowna Mayor, Walter Gray says the meeting was held in camera, meaning he can't discuss specifics.

"What I (can) tell you without divulging the contents of the meeting would be to say the agenda dealt mainly with transportation issues including the predictable which would be the eventual second crossing of Okanagan Lake and other matters in which partnerships between the province and local government would be appropriate" says Gray.

Gray characterized the meeting as excellent saying it was productive.

"She and her government and our little wee council here up country BC seem to be wanting to go in the same direction together into the future."

Speaking to a proposed second crossing, Gray earlier this week said he was thrilled at news, first brought to light on Castanet, that the province had earmarked $2M for start of the planning process into a second bridge.

"I think that's excellent. First it funds the process...but what it obviously says is it's proof positive they are serious about actually starting this far ahead of the construction need," says Gray.

"What we as local governments, including Westbank First Nation, have pledged, with our professional people in transportation, is to work Ministry of Highways to lay out the eventual corridor across the lake."

Gray says it is still the city's wish that a second cross land somewhere near Poplar Point or in the general area of the Tolko mill.

During a brief stop in Kelowna Wednesday, Premier Clark acknowledged the planning has begun but cautioned it will take some time.

"A major infrastructure project like that with all the related improvements that need to happen on either side of the lake will take some time. But the discussion has begun," says Clark.

"It could take up to a decade to get there but if we put it off for another two years it will be a decade after that. We need to get started."

On April 9, Castanet conducted a poll on the 2nd crossing, 1214 people took our poll, here are the results:

Do you believe a 2nd crossing of Okanagan Lake will be built within the next 20 years?

Yes:     870   
No:     344 

 

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