City must be connected

Re: Transform downtown a must 

Wayne Moore, reporter for Castanet News, in his October 24th article Transform Downtown A Must writes “[Community Visioning Survey] reports West Kelowna Lacks Identity”.

The truth is West Kelowna has much to offer residents and visitors including parks, trails, waterfront views, restaurants, businesses, cultural events and recreational activities. People’s current perception might have more to do with a lack of access and connectedness.

"Communities [should] share characteristics like walkable and vibrant downtowns, high-quality buildings, attractive gateways, active waterfronts, and experiences that draw people to them. Many participants felt West Kelowna does not yet have the differentiator it needs," said Jana Zelenski, Community Visioning consultant for the city of West Kelowna.

What is needed is a connected active transportation infrastructure (ATI) with sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks and streetlights that allow for heighten access to our downtown area, waterfront, parks and businesses.

The overall benefits of an improved ATI are many.

  • Improvements to resident's personal safety
  • Addresses resident's health, both physical and mental, as well as Covid-19 isolation
  • Improved access to Westbank town centre, parks, trails, waterfront
  • Improved tourism
  • Improved access for seniors and individuals with special physical needs
  • Addresses climate change concerns through reduction in gas house gases
  • Reductions in vehicular traffic (less congestion, less road maintenance)
  • Stimulate the economy through job creation
  • Increase property value
  • Attracts better employment talent (doctors and other professional services)
  • Encourages greater economic development
  • Connects neighborhoods

Improved access through an active transportation network will help West Kelowna become identified as a safe, vibrant, connected community.

Sidenote: Q: "Sounds great but how do we pay for it.” A: Through creative and financially sound strategies from West Kelowna city council. There are strategies available that would not require tax hikes. Council has already applied similar strategies in financing the building of a new city hall. We need to invest in people and the return will be profound, both financially and in the quality of life for West Kelowna.

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