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EDITORIAL – Riverside Park entrance not the place for new development

Artist’s rendering of public market at Heritage House parking lot. (Image: Kamloops Public Market Co-operative)

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 mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6243 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on EDITORIAL – Riverside Park entrance not the place for new development

  1. I’m in the minority but I think we should develop the park. Kamloops has a beautiful waterfront but we do nothing with it. The park is huge and I agree that most of it should be left as is. Converting current parking lots to amenities could greatly revitalize the downtown core, give residents and tourists something to do and help shed the image that Kamloops is an ugly place with nothing to do.

  2. Lorraine Winter // December 8, 2018 at 1:31 PM // Reply

    The sketch shows a whole lot of buildings and not much park. I know it’s all about the parking lot but couldn’t this great idea please be build elsewhere, close nearby?

  3. Wasn’t it only a couple of meetings ago when a city manager spoke to council about the need for building a dike along the shoreline of Riverside Park because of global warming trends causing flooding of the park more often?

    Resulting from that rendition, I am trying to envision what might be called the Manager’s Mile along the shoreline of Riverside Park, an area that will have a winter-time outdoor skating rink complete with the unit to keep the ice frozen in above-zero conditions, change rooms, a building for the zamboni and new out buildings for selling hot dogs.

    Now, the feeble minds of the taxpayers are to also consider some proposed changes to the section of Riverside Park along Lorne Street. It might be named Grandiose Gardens but only after a committee has been allocated $100,000 for a study to come up with a new name.

    Could the zamboni be used in its off season to give scenic tours between Lorne Street and the new wall built to protect the park from flooding? Or, consider offering hay rides too.

    They’d better allocate $200,000 for that study, Mel.

  4. And besides…that artistic rendering…if built like that then it’s a go!

  5. I think it’s a great location if restricted for activities that complement the park. I have trouble with those that think we’re compromising the park…hey it’s just a parking lot!. And the end development will keep the same amount of parking that’s there now. Design the building in a different way that makes it attractive to the location, not a square box. A flat roof doesn’t do it for me just to have roof top gardens. Come up with a modern style building with lots of glass, keeping the street view in mind. Put clear guidelines in place that ensure the use of the building includes marketing of local products and local talent. The last thing I’d want is a ‘Made in China’ atmosphere. It could be a jewel to attract tourists in a location that the old Value Village site can’t compete with.

  6. Some residents feel “protective” others feels otherwise. Any location has pros and cons…no heart-bleeding rhetoric please.

  7. I agree. Developing the park like that is just ludicrous. If this allowed to go ahead, how long before developers try to sell us on the idea of luxury condos in the park also. Council has to state plainly, and clearly that there will be no development in the park, Ever, and make it stick. And btw, why should taxpayers have to be on the hook for a public market ? Like a PAC, let the principals put up the money for this.

  8. Dawne Taylor // December 4, 2018 at 8:55 AM // Reply

    For Pete’s sake, leave Riverside Park alone. No to development!!!! Thank you Mel.

  9. Wendy Weseen // December 4, 2018 at 8:36 AM // Reply

    When I took my human service training we used to have something called a win-win solution. But it usually involved was not an either or way of thinking. Instead effort was put into trying to find a solution that overcomes obstacles and honours the variety of solutions that are presented. I don’t know why but in our culture we just seem to always think in terms of it has to be this or that, two options only instead of “yes and.” I think we thrive on adversarial and acrimonious dialogue. Someone has to be right and somebody has to be wrong. Of course win/win solutions take time and a different attitude. In the meantime you have some good points in your editorial.

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