An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHAT IS IT about the word “park” that developers don’t get?
The plan to put a year-round market on the Heritage House parking lot in Riverside Park lives on.
According to the Kamloops Public Market Cooperative, the organization pushing the project, the parking lot would become a “community cooperative amenity.”
The “amenity” would include a major building, outdoor market, rooftop garden, “educational space” and underground parking.
In the usual glowing prose employed for development proposals, the vision is stated as “A city public square, a hub for local goods, a gathering place where the community, friends and family come together providing a mix of retail, socializing, entertainment and education.”
There are, of course, the usual assurances about creating jobs and building the economy.
The co-operative is an interesting business model in that it provides for memberships and input from its members. The Kamloops Public Market Cooperative is selling shares to build support for the concept.
I’m certain the promoters have the best of intentions. And there’s no doubt a public market would be a nice addition to Kamloops.
But location is everything. Kamloops residents feel protective about their main park. That’s why they turned down a parkade in that very same parking lot a few years ago. Sight lines from Lorne Street are important and putting a building there would interfere with the park’s ambience just as a parkade would have.
Parking lots aren’t inherently things of beauty, either, but in this case maintaining ground-level views is integral to the entrance.
Traffic is also always a challenge when squeezing people into a tight space.
The old Value Village has been suggested as a location but the Cooperative rejects that idea.
Sometimes it is best just to say no, and that includes commercialization of Riverside Park.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.