Kamloops city council has unanimously approved funding that will see improvements added along a section of Tranquille Road while it undergoes construction for another planned project.
These enhancements include multi-use pathway lighting and a wider buffer between the pathway and vehicles, incorporating landscaping and bio-swales — channels with vegetation designed to carry, slow and filter water runoff.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Deven Matkowski, the city’s engineering manager, presented some options before council, seeking approval for the project scope and funding.
Matkowski explained a number of projects along Tranquille are already in place in the city’s capital plan, including the replacement of a sanitary sewer main between Southill Street and Crestline Street.
“This project is currently funded as essentially a sanitary sewer main replacement and then resurfacing the road, but there will be no significant improvements to the road surface. That's just the limitation of funding right now. So we will be putting back essentially what's there,” Matkowski said.
He said the $17.3 million sewer replacement and road resurfacing project is slated to take place likely in the next two years.
"We are presenting two options on how we can actually change that road form while we're in there doing the work,” he said.
Council opted to approve an option that will allow for a 2.5 metre wide landscaped buffer between multi-use pathway users and vehicles, as well as lighting improvements.
The project enhancements will cost $9 million — seven per cent more than what would be required to fulfil existing planning requirements, according to the city — and will be funded through long-term debt.
Coun. Sadie Hunter asked staff if they will be looking for grant funding for the project.
Marvin Kwiatkowski, the city’s director for development, engineering and sustainability, said the option approved by council will likely “garner more points” in terms of grant funding opportunities.
Kwiatkowski said staff are already working on a grant application for the project that will be coming forward to council in mid-June.
Coun. Bill Sarai said he supported the project enhancements especially factoring in his past experience delivering mail in that area.
“I know how dangerous it is walking that side of the road,” Sarai said.
“To have something wider, safer — and we're always promoting the multi use pathway to keep our bicyclist and our pedestrians away from traffic — this is a win for us in that area.”
Coun. Kathy Sinclair felt the proposed enhancements would also help make the road more climate-ready.
“Having the bio-swales and the trees prevents the heat from taking over with the pavement there. So I think this is the way to do things in the future,” Sinclair said.
Coun. Arjun Singh said the enhanced project would help beautify the neighbourhood, giving the example of a multi-use pathway that has been constructed in Tofino.
“You can imagine people coming in to YKA, landing in the plane, and seeing this beautiful bike path of separation and bio-swales. Like, ‘Wow, Kamloops is happening.’ I think this is really an awesome thing from that perspective too,” Singh said.