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BEPPLE – Kamloops is blessed to have such strong urban planning

I DROVE DOWN TRANQUILLE ROAD the other day from Overlanders Bridge to Fortune Drive. It felt as if I was in a whole new town. 

First, there was the vibrant green mixed use apartments with brewery at Clapperton Road. Then on adjacent corners of Wood Street, there was the renovated Kamloops Innovation Centre and the Manshadi medical centre & apartments.

In construction were more mixed use residential & commercial buildings at Spirit Square.  Further on, at Vernon Avenue, there’s a four-story seniors residence. 

Across the road on the west side, Library Square hosts a hotel, public library, shops and hundreds of apartment condominiums.

Soon there there will be another construction site at Simcoe Street, near Fortune Drive, hosting residential and commercial. 

Sleepy Tranquille Market is being transformed. In the span of 10 years, single-story commercial has been replaced by vibrant multi-story, mixed-use buildings. 

It didn’t just happen. 

A large amount of credit goes to the planners at City Hall.

Eleven years ago, in 2008, City of Kamloops released the “North Shore Neighborhood Plan”. Led by then city planner Carla Stewart, the plan laid out the blueprint for what has since come to be built. The plan put into place the land use that has allowed for the Tranquille Market to be transformed into a vibrant, urban area of Kamloops full fo mixed use residential and commercial buildings. 

I often marvel at the good fortune of Kamloops to have had such strong planning. The Highway 1 bypass, constructed in the ‘70’s, has been a godsend to the city, preserving the downtown commercial and residential neighbourhoods.

One only has to look at Kelowna, who also had the option of a bypass but turned it down, to know how important planning is. Planning preserves livability. Planning makes a growing city enjoyable. 

Planning takes patience and foresight.   At any one time, the City of Kamloops has a handful of plans on the go. Currently, the Recreation Master Plan, the Transit Future Master Plan, and the Downtown Plan are just a few in the works. The City is always looking for input from residents on the plans. 

Here’s hoping these plans will be as good for the future of Kamloops as the North Shore Neighborhood Plan has been. Here’s hoping we have the patience to see the plans through to completion as well.

Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

 

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About Mel Rothenburger (6683 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.

2 Comments on BEPPLE – Kamloops is blessed to have such strong urban planning

  1. It is good to see development, however Nancy is showing her lack of understanding of Kelowna’s development. Ignore Hwy 97 for a moment & Kamloops can in no way compare to the huge developments in their downtown area and even Mission. These developments include mixed-use highrises, new RCMP, Interior Health to name a few > it truly is a mini-Vancouver and unlike Kamloops, Kelowna is developing without so many tax-exempt developments. They are working effectively to encourage positive in-filling with those that can afford the many fine downtown shops. Kamloops, on the other hand, is showing desperation in that they offer many tax-exempt for low-income housing projects downtown and along Tranquille.

  2. There is only one Trans-Canada and it goes through Kamloops, not Kelowna. The bypass was sure needed here way more than there. Besides, Highway 97 is busy because that area of the province is the greatest hub of activities in this province outside of Vancouver’s hinterland. But sure, even Kamloops hasn’t been spared the construction/development frenzy brought to us by errant money (legal and what not) from elsewhere mostly China. Also, I find it hard to be enthused by urban planning concepts which are neither new nor visionary. But I guess, considering how stagnant it all was for all those past years, a bit of change and color and more than one storey is great cause for a celebration!

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