Kamloops's Riverside Park outdoor ice rink plan up in air after $4.2M grant didn't pan out | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops's Riverside Park outdoor ice rink plan up in air after $4.2M grant didn't pan out

FILE PHOTO - Kamloops city council is set to decide on Sept. 27 whether the City will replace the existing spray park with an outdoor skating rink.
September 28, 2021 - 8:30 AM

The City of Kamloops is set to revitalize Riverside Park, but a new funding direction means council must decide whether the park will will have a skating rink or if the existing spray park will remain.

City staff are giving three options to council tomorrow, Sept. 28, to decide the future of the project and requesting more funding to do it.

Last year, council approved a project to replace the existing spray park with an outdoor skating rink to rebuild the existing infrastructure at the park which sits where the two Thompson Rivers meet.

That approval included two grant applications to fund the project, but one of those grants was not approved, according to a staff report.

READ MORE: Why Kelowna is the only Thompson-Okanagan city with this unique type of outdoor ice skating rink

One provincial grant for flood mitigation was approved, but a recreation grant which would have contributed over $4.2 million towards construction of the outdoor rink was not successful.

The first option for council is to proceed with the outdoor skating rink, which was already approved. Without the grant approval, the City will have to cough up an additional $4.3 million in capital funding.

If council chooses to continue with the outdoor rink, design work is expected to be completed in 2022, with construction in 2023.

There is also an estimated annual cost of $120,000 to operate the rink. The highest part of the operating cost would be energy, estimated at $56,000 per year, followed by ice plant and Zamboni maintenance, snow removal and the cost of one staff member.

This option would include a spray park and outdoor rink combination, according to City of Kamloops capital projects manager Darren Crundwell.

"The spray park needs replacement regardless of the grant funding because it's 30 years old," Crundwell said.

City staff is presenting a second option which would replace the spray park and washroom instead of building the rink, which is Crundwell's recommendation to city council.

READ MORE: Archaeology at renowned Kamloops park shows its long history and cultural importance

It would cost an additional $1.75 million, but the new washroom would be solar-powered and designed for year-round, accessible, gender-neutral use.

City staff would also install brine lines under the new spray park, at a cost of $100,000, to leave the opportunity to install a skating rink in that location in the future.

The last option would see a new spray park but a minimally improved washroom. While this option would add just $250,000 to the project, the cost includes minor renovations to the existing building for mechanical spray park equipment.

The overall project is part of a larger plan to revitalize Riverside Park.

The other major piece of the project is aimed at protecting the park area from potential future floods.

Rivers Trail will be raised to prevent flooding of sanitary systems, while stabilization and erosion control will be underway to the west of the pier.

READ MORE: Pilot project to rent kayaks on Thompson River in Kamloops didn’t hold water

Construction is also expected to include new lighting in some areas and improved accessibility to the beach.

Due to inflation, the City will need to approve an additional $250,000 for the flood mitigation project.

Depending on which option council lands on, the combined total construction costs at Riverside Park is estimated between $3.6 million and $6.15 million, with $750,000 through grant funding.

— This story was updated at 10:46 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, to include comments from Darren Crundwell. 

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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