Kelowna to spend more than $2 billion on infrastructure over next 10 years

$2B for infrastructure

The City of Kelowna expects to spend more than $2 billion on a variety of infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.

According to asset management and capital planning manager Joel Shaw the total budgeted is $2.05 billion — much of that (70%) for transportation, buildings, airport improvements and parks.

With about 40,000 new residents over the past 10 years and that many or more expected by 2040, Shaw says 72 per cent of the spending will be to support the growth and improve services.

"Thirty two per cent of the funding will come from external sources with the remainder from internal sources such as taxation, the infrastructure levy, reserves, borrowing and utilities," Shaw told council.

"General taxation and the infrastructure levy will account for 13 per cent of the funding.

"The city faces several infrastructure challenges but we are facing these challenges head on."

While council applauded the work of staff and mayor Tom Dyas said the step-by-step process of putting the plan together made it "easier to understand," not everyone was pleased with the direction the city is taking.

Coun. Ron Cannan, who has voiced his opposition on more than one occasion, provided the lone dissenting voice.

"I don't necessarily agree with the direction of the capital plan and I appreciate that's democracy," said Cannan.

Over the past 10 years, he says the city has added 40,000 people and 140 more staff have been added at city hall. Inflation has increased 25 per cent and taxes by 37 per cent, "and we still have this serious infrastructure deficit."

With 5,000 to 6,000 housing units on the way adding 7,500 to 10,000 more cars on the road, he questioned why the Clement Avenue extension is not part of the 10-year plan.

"I know it's in design for next year but I believe it should be in our capital plan for the next 10 years.

"I believe with the mental health and addictions crisis and the housing affordability and serious transportation crisis our priority on borrowing $241 million on a recreation centre isn't a priority.

"I don't believe the current capital plan aligns with the needs of our community and really, we want to build a city of the future."

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