Food trucks, sports equipment rentals on the way for Kamloops's Riverside Park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

May 19, 2021 - 8:38 AM

A pilot project to welcome commercial activity at Kamloops’s Riverside Park raised a few eyebrows at council yesterday, but was largely supported.

The plan was brought to council yesterday, May 18, by Tourism Kamloops as a way to prop up a struggling tourism industry restricted by public health orders over the past year.

After councillors voted in favour of the plan, the “jewel of the city” is set to see sporting rentals and more food trucks brought to the park.

The specific businesses to be stationed at Riverside Park is not yet decided, but ideas like e-bike kayak, and pickleball equipment rentals were floated.

Debate over the plan, however, was not about which specific businesses would be allowed at the park, but about whether the park should be seen as “active” or “passive.”

“To be clear, it's not a passive park now. There’s music in the park, a spray park and slacklining. Despite all those activities, I can always find a quiet place to recreate or read a book,” councillor Kathy Sinclair said.

Dieter Dudy said much of the opposition to a more active use of Riverside Park is centred around worries that the added activity would “ruin the grass.”

"I don’t think it’s any secret at all that I am very supportive of seeing something that will enhance the park,” he said. “Businesses are going to be vetted accordingly and be suitable to that kind of environment.”

He also cited Stanley Park’s concession stands and similar rentals and a concession at Kelowna’s Gyro Park.

Mike O’Reilly said the park looked “tired” on his last visit and would like to see this project bring more activity to the park.

While there was support among most councillors for the pilot project. Councillors Arjun Singh and Denis Walsh were outspoken against the plan.

“I have a lot of concerns about this because I've seen the community divide itself over Riverside Park,” Singh said.

He was not opposed to businesses at the park, but felt that those who are interested in the park as a “passive” location were not consulted.

“I personally don’t have an oar in the water, but I think it's problematic,” he said.

According to Walsh, the plan is “opportunistic,” adding that he felt “blindsided” by the proposal.

He saw it as a plan that went against the Downtown Kamloops plan previously approved by council.

Despite their opposition, seven of the nine voting members were in favour.

The businesses are set to be located in and around the old concession building, which is slated to be taken by the end of the year for improvements to the park.

After the pilot run, Tourism Kamloops is to consult with the park goers and businesses to gauge the success of the project before it’s brought to council for future approval.

Council also voted in favour of a motion that will reduce the costs of to fitness instructors looking to host classes at Kamloops parks, mirroring a similar model already used in Kelowna.

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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