West Kelowna  

22 new positions approved

The City of West Kelowna has approved the addition of 22 new positions as part of its 2019 draft budget.

The new positions include eight firefighters, which were requested to address a critical resource shortage within the fire department.

The move will ensure that minimum staffing of the community’s firehalls will be accommodated without overtime or extended hours of duty. Westbank First Nation contributes to the costs of West Kelowna Fire Rescue.

The city also approved an additional RCMP officer, two planners, a bylaw enforcement supervisor, and economic development and tourism co-ordinator.

Council approved the positions as part of a detailed review of the 2019 city budget.

It also approved an additional $8.9 million in capital projects be added to the budget.

The larger ticket items include $3.2 million for the Glenrosa reservoir expansion, $2 million for design and construction of the Gellatly Road bridge, $1.2 million for sidewalks, and $1 million for the soccer dome water main replacement.

In all, the city is proposing a 3.88 per cent tax increase in 2019. That works out to an additional $68 for the average West Kelowna home valued at $550,000.

The draft budget will now be taken to an open house Feb. 20 at the Lions Community Centre.

Feedback will be presented to council before the financial plan is taken to second and third readings at future council meetings.

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