West Kelowna  

West Kelowna council concerned with the deterioration of local roads

Road conditions 'shocking'

The condition of roads in West Kelowna are worse now than they were in 2015.

That's a concern for elected officials sitting around the council table.

A report presented to council Tuesday shows the city's overall road network has not been maintained to the same condition it was when a previous study was conducted in 2015.

"Obviously, this isn't good," said Coun. Jason Friesen.

"This is shocking. Our roads have gone backwards quite a bit," added Coun Rick de Jong.

Overall, 19 per cent of the city's road network needs work according to the study conducted by Tetra Tech Canada.

Company spokesman Gary St. Michel says keeping that backlog to 12 to 15 per cent is manageable.

The study shows nearly half of all arterial roads and 18 per cent of collector roads are listed as poor to very poor.

"I wish we had this (report) at budget time," said de Jong.

Some of the decisions he says he made concerning the road network in this years budget would have been different if he had this information six months ago.

de Jong adds doing road network analysis every eight year is completely "missing the boat."

St. Michel says he would recommend a review every five years to which de Jong suggested looking at arterial roads specifically every three years should be considered.

"This is a surprise we should have seen coming," de Jong said.

The report indicated the city would need to spend $2.5 million over each of the next 10 years just to maintain roads at the condition they are presently in.

St. Michel said to get to the 12 to 15 per cent level of manageability, he would suggest stretching that to about 20 years.

The city has already earmarked $2.4 million per year for road network upgrades through the 10-year capital plan.

While the arterial network is in bad shape overall, Mayor Gord Milsom noted a large percentage of those roads are in rural areas.

He said many of those go beyond residential areas and don't get much traffic. Milsom wondered if the overall score would be different if those roads were taken out of the mix.

St. Michel says all roads are treated the same, but noted those roads can be cheaper to repair.

"Ones in poor condition are that way for a reason," said St. Michel.

Coun. Stephen Johnston asked that an updated plan for 2024 road rehabilitation be brought to council before deliberations begin on next year's budget.

de Jong suggested a report in the summer to give council a longer runway with which to work.

"I don't want to see this come out at budget time. We want clear direction before budget."

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