Some highlights from the provisional 2018 City of Kelowna budget:
— Most unionized city workers will get a raise of 1.5 per cent, but those who work at the airport will get a two per cent hike and firefighters will get 2.5 per cent.
— The city intends to hire 39 new employees in 2018. They include 12 new firefighters, to staff a new Glenmore fire hall, and four more RCMP officers, to bring staffing at the detachment up to 177 members, as well as two more bylaw enforcement officers.
— The old RCMP detachment on Doyle Avenue will be demolished next year at an anticipated cost of $750,000.
— Ethel Street upgrades, including bike lanes, wider sidewalks and landscaping, will be extended between Sutherland Avenue to Springfield Road at a cost of $2.1 million.
— A new Welcome to Kelowna sign, to replace one taken down at Reid’s Corner, will be installed along Highway 97 North next year at a total cost of $200,000, with half the money coming from the city and half from the province. The new sign will be located closer to the city’s northern boundary with the District of Lake Country.
— Replacing the roof at Kelowna’s airport will cost $2.6 million. Total airport revenues are pegged at $33 million, of which $13.2 million comes from the so-called airport improvement fee charged to passengers.
— A new transit route will be created linking South Pandosy, Okanagan College, Orchard Park mall, Glenmore and UBC Okanagan. It will use John Hindle Drive, which will connect Glenmore Road to the university when it opens in 2018.
— A $50,000 study will be launched on what to do with the FlowRider attraction at the H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre. The FlowRider, which is sort of a surfing and wakeboarding simulator, is nearly worn out after eight years. A study is necessary to decide whether to replace the gizmo or make different, more inclusive use of the space, city officials say.
— New flooring, lighting and other upgrades at the 15-year-old Rotary Centre for the Arts are budgeted at $75,000.
— The city will spend $14,300 to begin its own webcasting of council meetings.
— The city’s contract with its unionized workforce expires next year. The city’s human resources department proposes to spend $15,000 for “research, legal advice, meals and facilities related to collective bargaining.”