Wednesday April 23, 2014

Council ponders Tranquille gateway upgrades

An advisory group tasked with making the desirable but expensive Tranquille gateway project a reality could begin work by February.

City staff has asked council to authorize the terms of reference for the Tranquille Road Beautification/Enhancement and Gateway Task Force during a meeting Tuesday.

A report to council states the task force will provide short and long-term beautification options, funding strategies and partnership opportunities for the project.

The task force will include a representative from the Kamloops Airport, North Shore Business Improvement Association, Communities in Bloom, Tourism Kamloops and the development sector, the report revealed.

Mayor Peter Milobar and a councillor are to be included among the group's non-voting members.

The gateway plan is a passion of Coun. Nelly Dever, who is happy to see the project proceed.

"I'm just pleased to see it coming to fruition sooner rather than later," she said Sunday.

Council rejected the original $24-million plan to upgrade the corridor through Brocklehurst in October, deciding instead to strike an advisory group to look at low-cost beautification.

Dever said there are several ways to improve the route while staying within the character of the neighbourhood.

Transit stops and signage can be upgraded, she said. Barren land at Airport Road could be xeriscaped and trees planted in a large field adjacent to it.

Coun. Pat Wallace likens the short-term solutions to "sprucing up" Tranquille. She said this could be done by planting trees and shrubs and encouraging residents to keep their property clean.

The task force could start work no later than February and have recommendations within six months to a year, said Coun. Ken Christian.

He said the upgrades are important, and will give travellers who arrive by air a better impression of the city.

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