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Mayors focus on renewal of infrastructure for 2014

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Okanagan mayors will be spending a good part of 2014 focused on the basic building blocks of their respective cities. Okanagan mayors will be spending a good part of 2014 focused on the basic building blocks of their respective cities.
The Okanagan Saturday asked some local politicians on Friday about their top priorities and aspirations for the 12 months ahead.
A common theme through their responses was trying to improve the infrastructure of their municipalities.
It may not be the most exciting of subjects, but roads, water and sewer lines are necessities to community life, and the expensive task of fixing their often-deteriorating condition is said by some to be the chief challenge facing all Canadian cities in the coming years.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater: "More than anything, I'd like to see an early rollout of the next federal and provincial infrastructure program, in order that West Kelowna can accelerate the upgrade of roads, sidewalks, bike paths and waterlines in the community."
Vernon Mayor Robert Sawatzky: "A big project for 2014 will be the development of our infrastructure and maintenance program. The total value of all our infrastructure assets has been estimated at $800 million, and council is looking at a 1.9 per cent tax increase in each of the coming years to raise money to improve our roads, sewers and water systems.
"We'll also see a lot of construction next year on our new sports complex we're building in our partnership with Okanagan College."
Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray: "I want a third year of progress in the community under this council. It's a council team that has been proven to be fiscally responsible and results oriented."
Penticton Mayor Garry Litke: "We've got the rest of our new walkway along Okanagan Lake opening early in 2014."
"It's four metres wide, about a kilometre long, with lots of room for walkers, bicyclists, Rollerbladers and people in wheelchairs," Litke said.
"Council has budgeted for a downtown revitalization plan covering seven blocks. With the consent of the property owners, the plan would feature things like narrowing the road for vehicles, widening the sidewalks, and closing the street between Gyro and Veterans parks."
Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino: "A big project for next year will be updating our growth strategy to encourage more residential and commercial development just north of downtown. This would involve getting some property out of the Agricultural Land Reserve, which we know will be controversial, but the intention is to put an equal amount of land, acre for acre, back into the reserve elsewhere.
"We also need to find a suitable new location for our library. The existing one is about half the size it should be. And we're expecting to put the site of our old police station - a property of about two acres in size on Jubilee Street - onto the market next year."

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