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Highway 97C
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Glenmore UBCO link still years down the road

Ron Seymour

The Daily Courier


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A long-sought road link to UBC Okanagan from the Glenmore Valley is still several years away.
Although some pre-design work is being done for the so-called east-west connector, the City of Kelowna doesn‘t own all the land on which the road will be built.
"Council has been pushing hard to move this along, but it all comes down to money," Mayor Sharon Shepherd said Monday.
The best alignment for the connector, which will link Glenmore Road with Highway 97 North at the university campus, is still being considered, Shepherd said.
And since the project will cost many millions of dollars, the city plans on submitting an application for provincial and federal funding, she said.
At today‘s council meeting, staff will present an update on planning for the connector, as well as an examination of possible financing sources.
The first phase of the east-west connector, extending from Glenmore Road, will serve as the new access for the city dump.
It will open to traffic in the second half of 2013.
Construction of the $12 million first phase is being timed in conjunction with the opening of a new $3 million, 6,000-square foot main dump administration complex.
This past summer, council told staff to investigate the feasibility of using more of the tipping fees generated at the dump to help pay for construction of the east-west connector.
But in his report to council, senior city staffer Mark Watt recommends against doing so, saying the approach would require substantially higher tipping fees.
As well, the east-west connector will carry relatively little traffic to the dump, with most vehicles continuing to use Glenmore Road, Watt says.
"The landfill peak traffic, in spring, is accountable for only 10 per cent of the peak hourly load anticipated on the east-west connector, and only two per cent of the normal traffic load," Watt says. "Therefore, it has no significant impact on the future road that warrants an additional landfill contribution."
Instead, Watt recommends the city stick with the plan of using development cost charges, which are fees paid by the builders of new projects, to help finance the east-west connector, along with normal taxation revenues.
Once the connector‘s alignment is settled on, the plan will have to be approved by the Agricultural Land Commission, since the road will be built upon some properties currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Whenever it is built, the east-west connector will be named in honor of John Hindle, a former Kelowna mayor.

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