A multi-use pathway, such as the one shown here in Kelowna, should be bult along Glenmore Road, Lake Country councillors said Tuesday before they gave qualified support to a new transportation plan for the Central Okanagan.

The main non-highway link between Kelowna and Lake Country needs safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists soon, not decades into the future, transportation planners heard Tuesday.


Lake Country councillors say they'll only support a new regional transportation plan if it gives high priority to establishing a multi-use pathway adjacent to Glenmore Road.


"It's a crucial link that we need," Coun. Cara Reed said at Tuesday's town council meeting.


The plan as presented to council gave priority to completion of the Okanagan Rail Trail, a recreation corridor along an abandoned railway.


But councillors pointed out that that goal, while worthwhile, depends on actions to be taken by the federal government and the Okanagan Indian Band, not the municipality.


There was little in the regional transportation plan, the drafting of which was overseen by Kelowna municipal bureaucrats, for Lake Country, several councillors said.


"I look at this and go, 'This is not regional. This is a Kelowna plan, and I think we need to do better," said Coun. Todd McKenzie. "We need to get something that actually works for Lake Country."


Coun. Blair Ireland was the most vociferous critic of the aspect of the plan that gave only secondary importance to improving pedestrian and cycling movements along Glenmore Road.


"You don't have my support on this at all," Ireland told City of Kelowna planners Rafael Villareal and Mariah Van Zerr. "I would say this plan lacks vision completely."


Villareal responded by saying it would be very expensive and challenging to build a multi-use pathway along the eight kilometres of Glenmore Road.


"We need to be realistic about when things can happen," he said, adding building such a feature now would take up most of the $85 million the plan envisions for transportation improvements across the entire Central Okanagan.


"If we put a multi-use path along there, there would be no budget left for anything else," Villareal said.


Van Zerr suggested the construction of a multi-use pathway along the full length of Glenmore Road should be seen as a 50-year project.


Nevertheless, councillors only passed a motion supporting the regional transportation plan after adding a clause designating the building of protected bike lanes or a multi-use corridor, suitable and safe for use by people of all ages and abilities, along Glenmore as a high priority.