Provincial government providing $600,000 for proposed Kelowna north end connector

Money for north end route

The City of Kelowna is finally in a position to advance preliminary work on the long-awaited north end connector.

The route, linking Clement Avenue with Highway 33 and, eventually UBC Okanagan, has been a priority of the city for more than a decade.

Near the end of Monday's council meeting, Mayor Colin Basran announced the city would be receiving a $600,000 grant from the province, one which the city will match.

Basran says funding from the province began from a meeting he had with Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, and was confirmed through a phone call last week.

He expects a formal letter confirming the province's financial commitment shortly.

"The Clement Avenue route is integral to the Highway 97 corridor," Basran told council.

"The highway is the primary trucking and transit route, while parallel routes like Clement, Enterprise and Springfield provide additional capacity and access to businesses.

"The project also helps us with planning the new transit facility near UBCO. We want to determine access to that location and confirm the land that may be required for the road."

The funding is for planning and preliminary design work. Preparations are expected to begin before the end of the year and through much of 2023. Final recommendations to council are expected in 2024.

Basran made the announcement during the final meeting for this council before the Oct. 15 municipal election.

It's unusual, but not unheard of for announcements to be made in this manner, however, Basran says the funding announcement for a much anticipated roadway at this time was not politically motivated.

"We continue to be the council that makes decisions up until our last meeting, and anything we would do would be at the approval of the province."

"It's not like we've gone rogue here and made an announcement before I've been allowed to.

"This has been done at the approval of the provincial government who wants to continue to invest in our community."

Basran says he didn't ask for permission, but rather was told he could go ahead and let residents know what was happening.

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