After many months and a hundred thousand dollars, at this week’s council “committee of the whole” meeting, city staff presented what most would have thought would be the final draft of the downtown Kamloops transportation choices plan.
Almost always, final drafts of plans are approved as there has already been a lot of discussion, debate, and decision points.
Reading through the final draft before the meeting, I had strong concerns the plan wasn’t ambitious enough in enabling citizens to choose to shift from driving cars as a single occupant to other methods of transportation.
But I thought mistakenly that I would be one of the few council members with concerns.
At the meeting, many other concerns came out. Chief among them, in my view, were that the plan unfairly targeted drivers, that engagement on the plan was not adequate, and that the plan contained statements that were not in keeping with modern values and the local economy.
I’ve rarely seen a discussion like this. It was sometimes pretty pointed and emotional. Many council members were quite critical of the plan as it was written and presented. The vote to approve the plan was defeated 5-4.
This left us all, and probably more so city staff, a little beat up and at a loss. Did things just go big time sideways?
After this investment in time and money, what would happen to the work done to this point.
This was very much on my mind as council unanimously decided to refer further discussion on downtown transportation planning to the council development and sustainability committee. Hopefully, those of us who are on this committee can discuss and recommend downtown transportation initiatives that will get council approval.
The council discussion this week was actually immensely helpful. Every council member shared a bit more about their considered views and values. As we move forward to try to get overall council approval, we can hopefully craft a better and more durable set of actions and policies based on the robust, frank, and deeper dive discussion we had this week. I think we learnt a lot about how this council currently feels and thinks and thats very important learning.