2023-2026 Council Priorities - Year 1 Progress

Home > Our community > Our community stories > 2023-2026 Council Priorities - Year 1 Progress
View of Okanagan Lake


By Doug Gilchrist | Mar 25, 2024

A year ago, we released the Kelowna City Council priorities for the next four years. The priorities identify the shifts we need to make, as well as improvements and changes that are important to Council and residents. These priorities are in addition to the critical day-to-day work City staff conduct, including parks, recreation, waste, water, fire, landfill services, and road maintenance - which are all integral to maintaining the services residents rely on for a high quality of life.

Reporting to residents on the progress of our six priorities — Crime & Safety, Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Transportation, Agriculture, and Climate & Environment — demonstrates our commitment to transparency through consistent and accessible reporting to Council and residents.

Transparency is vital. It’s not only a mechanism for accountability, but also a way for residents to actively participate in shaping Kelowna’s future.

Our priorities are strategic and intended to improve the quality of life for residents and the community as a whole. They contain actionable items that we can deliver measurable results on in the short term. They also align with our long-term planning strategies such as the Official Community Plan, Imagine Kelowna, and numerous masterplans that have been shaped through Council and community input. Having strong plans in place, both long- and short-term, ensures we can be proactive and not lose sight of what’s important—now and into the future.

Using input from residents, staff, and Council, we are able to be innovative, collaborative, and bold. We advocate for the changes our community deserves and we also embrace emerging technologies to deliver our work. Because as one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, our neigbourhoods are transforming and our economy is diversifying, requiring us to be nimble in the face of external challenges and opportunities that arise.

Last September we released the first six-month progress report to Council highlighting the actions we had taken and their results. When I think about the work we have done so far, I look at the partnership we forged with BC Housing to address homelessness through the establishment of the HEART and HEARTH program, and the work done through advocating the provincial and federal governments on bail reform, substance abuse, and mental health. And of course, being recognized by the Union of BC Municipalities with the 2023 Climate and Energy Action Award for our work in building resilience to wildfires through our FireSmart® program is a proud achievement.

On March 25, the second progress report was presented to Council. The report highlights more than 80 activities covering 16 action items across the 6 priority areas. Here are a few highlights I can share with you now:

  • By the end of 2024, we will have added 32 new RCMP and bylaw officers and 11 firefighters.
  • We secured a $31.5M grant through the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund to fast track the construction of 950 high-density and affordable housing units.
  • The City has been a leading advocate on drug decriminalization pilot project, prolific violent and property offenders, bail reform, complex care beds, and an increase in Crown prosecutors.
  • Working closely with the Province to address homelessness, we provided City-owned land to advance 120 units of temporary housing, including 60 tiny units and 60 modular housing units.
  • We completed preliminary designs for three major road infrastructure projects including Commonwealth Road, the Frost Road extension, and the Bernard/Burtch expansions—all focused on improving traffic flow and increasing capacity.

The progress made on the 2023 — 2026 Council Priorities is a testament to how the City is leading the way in terms of advocacy and innovation, making bold decisions, protecting our environment, and most importantly, putting people first. Together, we can make Kelowna a City of the Future. I invite you to learn more about the 2023 — 2026 Council Priorities and to access the 12-month progress report online.

Related stories