Beachgoers in Kamloops looking forward to rentals at Riverside Park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Beachgoers in Kamloops looking forward to rentals at Riverside Park

The pilot project will last for the 2021 summer season. It will be brought back to Council with input from residents and tourists visiting the park this year.
June 24, 2021 - 6:30 AM

Tourism Kamloops is getting ready to launch its concession and rental stand at Riverside Park on Friday, a new addition to the iconic city destination.

Some beachgoers, both residents and tourists, are looking forward to the changes.

Jim and Kathy Pereversoff were enjoying the sunny afternoon at Kamloops's downtown beach on Tuesday, June 22, and they're looking forward to having more services offered at the park.

"Why not? Other places have it," Kathy Pereversoff said. "When we moved here in August, we were wondering why it wasn't already offered."

The pilot-project, headed by Tourism Kamloops, is readying to open a concession and rental stand near the pier. Two companies will rent out water sports equipment and other outdoor equipment, like pickleball paddles and bocce ball.

READ MORE: Food trucks, sports equipment rentals on the way for Kamloops's Riverside Park

Two companies, Kamloops Watersports and Sea Legs, will be renting out the equipment. The park users will also see a continued and rotating presence of food trucks near the pier.

Long-time resident Morris Matthews has some reservations, but sees no issue with welcoming commercial activity for a year.

"I'm 50-50 about it," Matthews said. "You never know with commercial interests. They could move in and take more space over time."

The 44-year-resident said Riverside Park is a "fantastic place" for Kamloops to have and worries about how much space commercial interests could be granted at the park.

"We'll be monitoring success metrics as we go through," Monica Dickinson, Tourism Kamloops spokesperson, said. "It will come back to not only revenues, but also sentiments of residents and visitors. Our Bold Street Team will be stationed in and around the concession stand engaging through surveys to gauge satisfaction."

The concession stand has been repainted and renovated with new paint and signage. There is a chalk wall for people to leave messages and art through the summer, too.

While there have been concerns about bringing more commercial activity from City Council, the pilot project will be revisited at the end of the summer to gauge its success. The building Tourism Kamloops now uses for the concession stand is also slated to be demolished to make way for flood mitigation and rerouting of the Rivers Trail.

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While Kamloops residents are welcome to take advantage of kayak, water bike and bocce ball rentals, Tourism Kamloops's goal is to promote the city to tourists, as their name suggests.

Destiny Dornbusch and Derrick Brignall were visiting the Kamloops park on June 22, and they're looking forward to the changes.

The couple is from Prince George, and they said they've rented kayaks in Kamloops before, but the added convenience will be a draw for them to do it again in the future.

"If it sticks around, we'll for sure come here more often," Brignall said.

Just in time for a warm weekend, rentals will be open on Friday, June 25. Users can expect to sign liability waivers and receive a debriefing that they are engaging in water sports at their own risk.

"This has been a tough 18 months - it's been very hard on our businesses. We want to activate this space to reenergize the economic space," Dickinson said. "This isn't a new concept, there are cities throughout the world that activate their waterfront. It's something, I think, that's been long overdue for Kamloops."

Rentals can be booked online in advance. See the Tourism Kamloops website here for more information.

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To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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