A peek into projects and where Vernon tax dollars are going at city open house

A peek into projects

Chelsey Mutter

Vernonites had the chance to learn where their tax dollars are going in 2024 at a capital infrastructure open house, Thursday.

The City of Vernon says it has 23 capital projects planned this year, totalling $29 million with $7.2 million of that to be funded by taxes. The open house gave residents a chance to ask questions about upcoming projects.

Mark Dowhaniuk, manager of infrastructure, said letters were sent out to neighbours adjacent to big projects which prompted questions Thursday evening.

“There’s property specific questions and I think a lot of people are just interested in all the other projects that are happening within the city as well,” said Dowhaniuk.

“Good opportunity to see where your public tax dollars are going to make your community a better place.”

He said most of the feedback has been positive and wants to ask the public for its patience during the construction season.

The big projects for the year are the 43rd street crossing replacement, new roundabout on 39th and Pleasant Valley Road, naturalization of Vernon Creek in Polson Park, bike park in Becker Park, and large infrastructure replacement on 32nd Ave.

Active Living Centre

Also in attendance were project managers from the $121 million Active Living Centre which the city just approved up to $15 million in additional funds.

Doug Ross, project program manager for the Active Living Centre, said the project is in its conceptual design phase. He says soon the city will agree on what it will build, how long it’ll take and the final idea of how much it’ll cost.

That phase is expected to be completed sometime in April, and Ross says he doesn’t anticipate a cost increase.

“The maximum upset cost would not be over that, the $121 plus up to $15 (million),” said Ross.

“It certainly won’t go over that, if anything it should come down. And during the project … when opportunity comes up to save money that money can either be put back into reserves or it can be put back into the facility. Those decisions will get made during the construction phase.”

Ross said residents wanted to know all about the ALC, asking about what there is for kids, older adults, the tracks, the temperature of the water, the water slide, etc.

Residents can expect to see work being done on the centre soon with site prep beginning in March.

Official Community Plan and Active Transportation Plan

Residents could also chat to the city about its changing Official Community Plan and Transportation Action Plan.

Danielle DeVries is a transportation planner and says the OCP is about land use and what goes where while the TAP will look at roads and how people get to and from places.

“The most exciting thing that’s coming forward is that we’ve combined those two plans together so we’re being much more iterative than in the past so where we’re investing in more transportation infrastructure we’re also coupling that with more density,” said DeVries.

People at the open house wanted to know what forms of housing the city is focusing on, what kind of places the city will allow. DeVries said it’s still up in the air but the city is moving towards more multi-family housing like fourplexes. She said people also wanted to know how to get around the city better.

The OCP and TAP engagement strategies will launch following, March 25 when it goes before council first.

People who were unable to attend the open house can find more information at vernon.ca/capitalworks.

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