The City of Kelowna is attempting to combat traffic concerns surrounding a new Costco before the big box store is even built.
City council has approved the allocation of $500,000 from reserves in its 2021 budget to expedite improvements to the Highway 97 and Leckie Road intersection.
“It’d be a shame if, on opening day, that intersection was not working that well,” planning manager Ryan Smith told Kelowna city council during a Monday (April 19) meeting.
A traffic impact study showed challenges are already prevalent in the area and would be exacerbated by Costco’s introduction to the area, a concern residents of the area have long expressed.
“It was either improve it in the months ahead … Or be forced to improve it on potentially an even shorter timeline if there were major traffic volume concerns (after Costco opens),” Smith said.
The project is estimated to cost $1.14 million and work could begin before the end of the year. Costco is kicking in $474,000, the city is committing $466,000 and the Ministry of Transportation is providing $200,000. However, if the project doesn’t happen before March 31, 2022, the province will cut its contribution to $150,000.
The city is looking to recuperate its portion of the cost through ‘latecomer’ charges imposed on future developments on a large stretch of the Highway 97 corridor between Spall Road and McCurdy Road. The city said the investment should be recovered in approximately five years.
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