City’s 2018 Annual Report endorsed by Council
Kelowna City Council reviewed and approved the City’s 2018 Annual Report on Monday, June 24.
The 2018 Annual Report captures how the City, through strong financial management, managed a $518.8 million annual budget to deliver the programs, services and infrastructure that help make Kelowna a great place to live, work, play and conduct business.
“Reflecting on 2018, I can truly say it was a pivotal year for our community,” says Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. “The adoption of both Imagine Kelowna for a community vision towards our future and of the Journey Home Strategy to support our most vulnerable residents represents that with thoughtful collaboration and by working with partners we can make strides towards a future Kelowna I am extremely optimistic about.”
With 94 per cent of residents rating their quality of life as good or very good, it’s no surprise our community is an attractive place to live and visit: 131,600 residents now call Kelowna home and YLW Kelowna International Airport saw more than 2 million passengers pass through its doors in 2018. Like other communities experiencing this type of growth, we face the issues that come along with it: the need for increased public safety, development of transportation solutions and prioritizing housing affordability and diversity. The increased pressure of social issues was the top concern identified by residents in the 2018 Citizen Survey.
Of the City’s total budget, in 2018 $61 million went towards protective services to increase public safety. This includes staffing and equipment costs for RCMP, Kelowna Fire Department and Bylaw Services. The City invested in 25 new first-responder and safety support positions in 2018. We also collaborated with BC Housing to help bring 86 supportive housing units in purpose-built buildings, increased our rental housing grants program by $420,000 and continued to prioritize multi-unit building permits.
With an eye to the future, we also launched the updates to the Official Community Plan and the Transportation Master Plan. New leadership, with the hiring of City Manager Doug Gilchrist and the fall municipal elections, will provide the direction and funding decisions as we move forward.
Naturally beautiful, residents can enjoy improved outdoor experiences with upgrades made to Boyce-Gyro Beach that includes 126 permanent parking stalls, the construction of an accessible-to-all playground at the new Rowcliffe Park and the launch of the spectacular Active by Nature 28km Kelowna Paddle Trail on Okanagan Lake.
We invested $114.6 million in capital projects that included completing the construction of John Hindle Drive, Phase 2 of the Rutland Transit Exchange and the annual pavement management program. We also retrofitted 10,000 street lights to LED light bulbs that will result in nearly $13 million in cost savings over the next 15 years. We broke ground on the $86 million Kelowna Integrated Water Phase 1 project to integrate the South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID) and deliver agriculture water to the South Mission.
“Strong financial management, policies and decisions are imperative when you maintain more than 1,600 kilometres of roads, more than 220 parks and beaches, more than 100 municipal buildings, continually expand our leasable fibre-optic network and deliver 16 billion cubic litres of drinking water each year,” says Mayor Basran. “But all of this happens because we have a dedicated team of City staff who serve the City and community with professionalism, expertise and passion.”
For 16 consecutive years the City has received the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association, respectfully considered the highest standards in clear and transparent financial reporting. The City has also received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 17 consecutive years from the same association.