City’s 2019 Annual Report endorsed by Council
Kelowna City Council reviewed and approved the City’s 2019 Annual Report on Monday, August 24.
The 2019 Annual Report is a look back, before the community and the world was upended by COVID-19, to how the City managed its $583.2 million annual budget to deliver the programs, services and infrastructure that help make Kelowna a great place to live, work, play and invest.
“It does feel a bit odd to be looking back to 2019 when we are in the throes of a pandemic,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. “But it is still important because each preceding year builds knowledge, insight and a foundation for where we, as a City and a community, want to go. Through our thoughtful planning, aligned with the 2019 – 2022 Council Priorities, I am confident that we will not only adapt and survive through the current challenges, but we’re going to thrive.”
2019 marked the launch of 2019-2022 Council Priorities, a new guiding strategic document that focuses on moving us closer to being the city residents envisioned through the Imagine Kelowna process. The results-based approach balances the need to provide sufficient direction with the need to allow flexibility to foster innovation and creative solutions, adjust quickly to changes in the community, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Kelowna is a beautiful place to live and remains one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. In 2019, 133,800 people called Kelowna home, including 23,000 post-secondary students, and the four-season lifestyle continued to entice with our recreational offerings, growing agriculture industry and opportunities in the $1.6 billion regional technology sector.
Some inroads made towards the Imagine Kelowna goals include the introduction of an infrastructure levy to address the $500 million infrastructure deficit identified in the 10-Year Capital Plan, a new Development Cost Charges (DCC) to support parks development and the implementation of an upgraded Asset Management System to help us more efficiently manage the $3.3 billion worth of public infrastructure.
Adding an additional 50,000 residents to our community over the next 20 years means that we need to forecast and plan for how everyone will get around efficiently. In 2019, work continued on the development of the Transportation Master Plan to 2040 which will be unveiled in 2021. We continued to invest in expanding our active transportation corridors, opening the new two-way cycle tracks on Sutherland Avenue and Ethel Street and Council endorsed recommendations of the Downtown Parking Plan to improve customer service and provide a balanced transportation network for residents.
Through our first ever Public Safety and Crime Survey we learned that most residents think the most important crime-related issues are breaking and entering/property crimes and open drug use. To help address this, we hired the City’s first Community Safety Director to respond to acute issues related to safety, supported the Kelowna RCMP’s new Online Crime Reporting Tool, installed in security cameras and improved lighting in downtown parkades and invested in an additional seven RCMP members and three Bylaw Officers.
We also continued to support the community-built Journey Home Strategy to address homelessness and worked diligently with community and Provincial partners on solutions which included the approval of three sites for housing with supports to be developed by BC Housing, providing 150 homes for people experiencing homelessness. In late 2019, we designated two emergency outdoor overnight sheltering sites for people sheltering outside and supported the opening of the temporary winter shelter at Fuller Place.
The Kelowna International Airport (YLW) continued to be a bustling hub, welcoming more than 2 million passengers for the second year in a row. While the numbers look significantly different for 2020, YLW is ready to welcome passengers back with upgraded LED taxiway and apron lights, a new outdoor xeriscape garden and the addition of 600 long-term parking spaces.
We’re planning for the future, investing in proactive flood mitigation efforts through partnerships, securing grants and obtaining funding from different levels of government. We improved several beach access points and purchased additional beach front to accommodate the expansion of Rotary Beach Park. The much-loved City Park waterpark, which had been severely damaged by the 2017 flooding, re-opened with a new water delivery and disposal system that is now flood resistant. And the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan was launched, aligning with the Imagine Kelowna goal of enhancing an engaging arts and culture scene in our community.
To read the 2019 Annual Report visit kelowna.ca/annualreport.