Downtown plan unlikely for 2008

by - Story: 39092

An update of the Kelowna Downtown Plan does not appear to be in the cards for 2008.

A staff report prepared for City Council indicated there are not enough staff resources or funds to begin the review this year.

A consultant recommended a year ago the Downtown Plan, originally endorsed in 1999, be updated.

Strategic Planning Manager, Signe Bagh, says the $100,000 requested over the next two years will not be sufficient to conduct the review.

"Initial research has suggested that comprehensive Downtown Plans for small to medium-sized communities can cost between $250,000 and $500,000," says Bagh.

"For the Downtown Plan update to proceed, additional resources will be needed. There are not sufficient funds available in Planning Department carry-overs to fund the total costs of an update."

Bagh says in her report that even if funds were available, staff resources are insufficient to allow the review to go ahead this year.

"Four months into 2008 and staff resources are no greater than they were at the beginning of the year. Although the Planning Department is currently recruiting, it is unlikely that sufficient staff will be on board to allow the Downtown Plan update to proceed in 2008."

She says a project such as this requires resources from a number of City departments.

"It is anticipated that staff will be in a better position to support an update of the Downtown Plan after the Official Community Plan review is completed."

Bagh adds a number of letters have been received urging the City immediately proceed with an updated Downtown Plan, including a 649 name petition.

Meantime, a third open house into the current Downtown Revitalization Initiative will take place Wednesday, May 7 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Mary Irwin Theatre.

The public can view how input over the last 6 months has been incorporated into a plan which features sustainable design goals and heritage preservation and hear a presentation on the design by Graham McGarva from VIA Architecture.

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