Other needs on Westside

These are unusual and trying times. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic goes far beyond the spread of the disease itself. This health crisis is having a profound effect on social and economic activities across Canada. Socially, there is a growing isolation in all groups including school-aged children, elderly and people with physical disabilities. Economically, wide-ranging lay-offs, changes in consumer spending and cancellation of public events are seen across Canada. Governments at all levels need to take steps to address and lessen the impact of this “new normal”?

At the last City of West Kelowna council meeting approval was given to secure a $11M long-term low interest loan for the construction of a new city hall. Interest rates for corporate loans are at an all-time low while construction costs continue to increase. There is merit for West Kelowna to proceed with a new city hall.

However, there is a need for the City of West Kelowna to address the health and safety of our citizens. Individuals feel physically, socially and economically vulnerable and governments need to show the leadership to alleviate their anxieties. Many transportation corridors such as lower Boucharie and Shannon Lake Roads lack sidewalks, bike lanes and streetlights. Families with young children, cyclists and seniors have expressed real safety concerns. A commitment for immediate improvements to West Kelowna’s active transportation infrastructure (ATI) would go a long way in addressing these worries.

The same investment strategy being used in securing funds for the new West Kelowna city hall should be adopted to improve the sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks and streetlights thus ensuring greater health and safety of our citizens. Let’s invest in our residents, let’s invest in the future.

Tom Groat, West Kelowna

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