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Feb 11, 2016

State of the City 2016

Among de-bunking recent lists "ranking" Kelowna, Mayor Colin Basran reaffirmed Council’s commitment to working toward an integrated water system for the whole city during today's address to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

The large crowd of business and community leaders attended the Chamber event at the Coast Capri ballroom. “We’re confident our investments in building a great city are paying off in a number of ways – including the ability to generate employment opportunities,” said Mayor Basran, who highlighted a number of strengths in the local economy.

The mayor said 2016 will be a year of completing some of the major projects currently underway and focusing on ensuring the city’s core services are maintained. “We are looking at what’s in the best long-term interests of our community. For the most part in the years ahead, we need to pay attention to our existing roads, buildings, bridges, utilities and parks.”

A large part of the presentation to the Chamber crowd focused on the city’s unique situation of having multiple irrigation districts supplying water to residents in different parts of Kelowna. “This Council has identified water improvement as our No. 1 priority – and it was also residents’ top priority for investment in our 2015 Citizens Survey,” said Mayor Basran. By looking at the system holistically, the mayor suggested investments could be prioritized in a way that makes the most sense for the entire system to avoid duplication. “Kelowna’s strength is we have multiple water sources; our weakness is that they’re not integrated.

“This is also about water security. As our city grows, as the effects of climate change impact our water sources, real integration will make it possible to move large volumes of high-quality water anywhere in the city to address water quality, supply and treatment in a cost-effective way.”

In addition to working toward integrating the water systems, Mayor Basran also highlighted some capital projects that will get underway in 2016, including new playing fields and playground for Centennial Park, extending the City’s fibre optic network toward the airport and UBCO and Phase 2 of the Ethel Street multi-use corridor. “Our Council will continue to work today to meet our responsibilities for tomorrow… No matter how difficult or long-term those initiatives might be.”

Find out more about the City of Kelowna progress on plans at kelowna.ca/cityhall.