THE OTHER DAY, as often happens, I found myself at Prince Charles Park on a warm summer evening. I was not alone. The park was full of children playing on the jungle gym. There were soccer games on the grass, and games of run full tilt down the hill.
Meanwhile, their parents, and aunties and grandfathers visited with each other, sometimes for the first time, and sometimes they had met at the park time and time again.
The Prince Charles Park wading pool is a magnet for the neighbourhood. It gives countless hours of enjoyment to kids and adults alike, and it helps strengthen our community by giving people a chance to connect.
On the northwest corner of the wading pool is a small plaque which reads “To make life sweeter and the world happier“ and the date 1957.
What vision Kamloops had to build Prince Charles park wading pool back in 1957.
Sixty years ago, Kamloops was a dusty cowtown. The stockyards were where the Pavilion Theatre stands now. Pioneer Park was a sawmill. There was a slaughterhouse and milk plant where the Sandman Centre now stands. McArthur Island still had sewage lagoons. The Tournament Capital Centre was just a hillside covered in sagebrush.
Sixty years ago, all that was still to be built.
But 60 years ago, the community had the foresight to build a wading pool in Prince Charles Park that gives joy and builds community to this day.
Decades of enjoyment.
Prince Charles Park remains one of the best things in the city.
Now we can do the same. We can build a performing arts centre that will be used now and for 60 years to come.
There are naysayers aplenty who will speak against the proposed performing arts centre at 4th and Seymour.
To them I say, what we build today will be enjoyed as much 60 years from now as it will be today. Young ballerinas will dance on its stage. Grandparents will watch with pride. Theatre goers will laugh and cry. Rock concerts and classics will be performed.
And at the end of each show, and at intermissions too, community members will visit, time and time again.
And if the performing arts centre is built, and I’m sure that it will, I hope there will be a small plaque erected on its northwest corner that says “To make life sweeter and the world happier.“
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.