Kelowna council OK's use of rental e-scooters during Meet Me on Bernard

E-scooters stay on Bernard

Kelowna city council has given staff the go ahead to prepare terms of a contract for shared e-scooters and e-bike rentals for the next two years.

Included within those terms will be the ability for users to navigate those vehicles along the centre walking path during the annual Meet Me on Bernard promotion when the 200 and 300 blocks of Bernard are shut down to vehicle traffic over the summer.

That was the only contentious part of the contract terms outlined by transportation planner Cameron Noonan during Monday's council meeting.

Councillors Luke Stack and Maxine DeHart both shared concerns about allowing e-scooters on Bernard during the summer-long promotion, but it was only Stack who voted against that contractual amendment.

This doesn't make sense

Stack said it doesn't make sense that laws were changed to allow these types of motorized vehicles on streets but when the city closes a street to vehicle access we are going to still allow these motorized vehicles.

"In my mind to get people to walk safely down Bernard Avenue, we should not have to fight with electric bikes, electric scooters or anything," said Stack.

"I think the whole idea of trying to bring pedestrians and motor vehicles together on the street is not consistent."

Stack was unable to sway any of his colleagues to his point of view.

The request to allow e-scooters and e-bikes during Meet Me on Bernard came from the Downtown Kelowna Association.

Stack did join his other council mates in agreeing the rest of the terms made sense.

"What you brought forward really encapsulates what council had concerns about," said Coun. Loyal Wooldridge in supporting the contract terms.

"We are only regulating the shared e-scooters and not the private e-scooters. Sometimes when people see the private e-scooters going faster than what we are talking about today, that gets a little bit confusing."

The contract will include everything from fleet size and parking to education, enforcement and tracking of vehicles.

The city will be looking for just one operator to provide the micromobility program. The contract would run for two years with the city holding options for a further two years.

At the present time, Lime is the only company providing shared e-scooter and e-bike rentals.

Their current contract with the city expires April 20.

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