$90M construction boom

The City of Kelowna is set to spend more than $90 million on construction and improvement projects in 2015.

These projects range from a $2.8 million pavement management program and completion of Stuart Park to the start of construction on two downtown parkades and the new $48 million RCMP building.

In between, there are transit improvements, construction on new roads, sidewalks and bike paths plus utility and park upgrades.

"We've got over 100 projects in total and it takes a lot of co-ordination to make it happen," said Alan Newcombe, Kelowna's new divisional infrastructure director.

Most of the projects involving building, road, sidewalk and utility projects will take place during the spring and summer months.

And, while those inconvenienced by delays and closures often voice their frustration, Newcombe said there's really no alternative.

"That is the construction season. You can do some work during the winter but there is an additional cost and we are very conscious of the budget and the revenues we are collecting from the citizens," said Newcombe.

"Certainly spring, summer and fall is the time to do it. The asphalt plants are open and there are only certain things we can do at certain times of the year."

One of the big hassles that motorists are already starting to feel is the downtown parking pinch.

A few hundred parking stalls in and around the downtown library and Memorial Arena has already been lost or will be lost come summertime.

Several stalls were removed to make way for the new Interior Health building. That construction is already underway.

About 70 more stalls will be lost at the Library Parkade when expansion work begins, likely by late spring or early summer.

In September more ground level parking will be lost when construction of the new Parkade begins in the current parking lot between Memorial Arena and the Kelowna Museum.

The city's parking division is currently working on plans to alleviate the expected crunch.

Both parkades and the Interior Health building are expected to be complete by the end of 2016. 

The city is also beginning or continuing with several parks projects.

Included in this, along with the completion of Stuart Park, is construction of the new Mission Creek Greenway Park.

The park, adjacent to the newly constructed Lakeshore Road bridge, will become the Greenway's new trailhead at a cost of about $310,000.

This is the former site of La Mission Motel.

Work will also begin on Centennial Park in Rutland with the addition of a soccer field, while at the same time Shepherd Road will be extended through part of the park's parking lot from Roxby to Rutland Road.

Both the Queensway and South Pandosy transit exchanges will also be complete.

There are also plans to construct hundreds of metres of sidewalks, while several kilometres of roads will be repaved.

Click here to view a list of all planned 2015 projects or here for images and descriptions of each.


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