Penticton council agreed to put the estimated $4.7 million next phase of the Lake-to-Lake bike route into the 2022 budget.
Coun. Julius Bloomfield’s notice of motion at the Oct. 5 council meeting called for funds for the second phase of the bike route to be included in 2022’s budget.
“In order for it to be an effective bike route we need this section to go through from Okanagan Lake to South Main,” said Bloomfield at Tuesday’s meeting.
The bike lane’s biggest proponent, coun. Katie Robinson was excited to see the momentum continuing.
“I feel strongly we need to keep the wheels turning,” said Robinson.
She pointed out that the first phase of the bike lane came in at $2.2 million and was paid for with a $1 million grant and $1 million in gas taxes.
The second phase of the plan does not have a finalized cost, which will depend on what the exact design of the route will look like, but the estimate when that phase as a whole was voted on stood at around $4.7 million.
Coun. James Miller questioned whether the next phase could be delayed a year considering council had just agreed that the top priority for the 2022 budget should be community safety.
“Why don’t we see how snow removal goes and we have just established that crime and safety is our priority. The bike lane could be an election issue as well. Let’s put this phase in the 2023 budget,” said Miller.
Council has been very much in favour of the bike lane, many in the community have been vocally opposed, writing letters to the editor and taking to social media about the cost and timing of the luxury item.
But Miller’s request to delay construction and costs didn’t find support around the council table.
The mayor said the project must be completed.
“There is a Greek saying that you never leave a project half done,” said John Vassilaki.
With council approval, city staff will begin working to engage with property owners along the route as well as begin the final design process for the section.
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