Kelowna and UBC Okanagan agree on three collaborative research projects

City, UBCO collaboration

The City of Kelowna and UBC Okanagan have developed a series of pilot initiatives aligned with research goals at the university and city priorities.

The initiatives, says city manager Doug Gilchrist, are part of a series of collaborative efforts the city has formalized with institutions in the region, including Okanagan College and Interior Health.

"We know for sure the opportunities that are in front of us will garner interest of the provincial and federal governments and other institutions that want to facilitate research," said Gilchrist.

"We have the ability to invest and leverage funds with other institutions, associations, research bodies and make sure our money , at a minimum, can be leveraged at a two-to-one ratio, if not more."

While the research initiatives have a distinct Central Okanagan focus, there could also be benefits for the "greater society."

The three research projects agreed to come from four focus themes, waste reduction and management, sustainable urban living, climate resiliency and homelessness.

The three projects include:

  • A rapid battery charging technology. The feasibility of electric buses in our community and optimizing existing routes or alternate routes and charging tools and infrastructure that might be needed. The first phase is two years.
  • Alternate transportation along the Okanagan Rail Trail. Trying to improve connectivity between YLW, the university, downtown and all points in between. This research project will go between two and three years and will look at future technologies, emerging travel modes around the globe, maximization of the right of way, cost analyses.
  • The third is around our aquatic centres and enhancing the environmental health and performance of them. Some operational strategies, taking into account energy use and emissions, and the way we test our water. The disinfectants that are used within those facilities then the discharge that comes out of them.

With replacement of the Parkinson Rec Centre on the horizon, Gilchrist says what is learned could be used in both existing and emerging facilities.

"The time is now for collaborations between universities and municipalities in a way it never has been before," said co-chair Dr. Phil Barker associated VP of research at UBCO.

"There are various sources of funding, so relatively small investments we make on our side can be leveraged with other agencies.

"We are looking for those opportunities."

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