Outdoor rink at Riverside Park shelved for new washroom, spray park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Outdoor rink at Riverside Park shelved for new washroom, spray park

FILE PHOTO - Riverside Park will soon have the spray park and washroom rebuilt after City council gave their approval on Sept. 28, 2021.
September 28, 2021 - 7:30 PM

There will be no lacing up skates at Riverside Park in Kamloops this winter as city council decided to change plans for construction at the park.

At a Sept. 28 city council meeting, a 6-2 vote approved the construction of a new spray park to replace the current aging infrastructure.

They also approved the construction of a solar-powered, all season bathroom in place of the former changeroom, originally built in the 1960s, according to capital projects manager with the City of Kamloops, Darren Crundwell.

According to the proposal staff took to City council, they plan to have the construction completed by the summer of 2022.

City council originally approved a plan to replace the current spray park with an outdoor ice rink in the winter and a new spray park in the summer. 

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

However, that decision was based on the expectation that a roughly $4 million provincial grant would be awarded to the City.

City staff learned in August that the City would not receive that funding, so new options were presented to council on Sept. 28.

The dream of an outdoor skating rink, similar to Kelowna's rink at Jim Stuart Park, is not gone at Riverside Park, but if it happens, it will be years away.

Construction of the new spray park will include work to lay brine lines, which are needed for an outdoor rink, for $100,000.

The new bathroom, while not yet designed in detail, would be designed with accessibility and vandalism-prevention in mind, according to City of Kamloops director of civic operations Jen Fretz.

Mayor Ken Christian and Coun. Denis Walsh were the two dissenters to the vote.

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

Walsh told iNFOnews.ca that while he's not opposed to the construction project, he would prefer to wait until the next budget meeting to determine how the costs will compare to overall city spending.

The new project to replace the washroom and spray park requires an additional $1.5 million of City funds, bringing the total cost to $3.25 million.

The remainder was already approved spending through the City's community works funds.

Council also approved a request for an additional $250,000 for construction costs at Riverside Park related to future flood mitigation work.

The total cost of the flood mitigation work is estimated at $1.85 million.

Crundwell said the increase in cost is due to inflation and market circumstances driving up the cost of goods and equipment to do the work of raising Rivers Trail and stabilizing the river banks west of the pier.

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