EDITORIAL – Nothing inherently wrong with allowing businesses in Riverside

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE SPECTRE OF BUSINESS in Riverside Park has raised its head again and will undoubtedly raise the hackles of those who think anything that smacks of profit-making must be banned forever.

A couple of unspecified business ideas have been received at the committee stage, which will likely re-open the general issue for discussion at City council.

The record of proposals for developing the park is pretty much zero per cent. The plan to build a humongous year-round market on the Heritage House parking lot is not taking off, just as an earlier plan to build a parkade there was defeated by residents worried about the view.

Even more famously, a hotel in the smaller lot beside Sandman Centre met with huge public objections, though it was eventually abandoned for other reasons.

But it’s not an either-or situation. Developments with big footprints that would fundamentally alter the park should be rejected out of hand, but smaller commercial activity could actually enhance it.

A few years ago, there was a proposal to establish a tubing rental kiosk on the river shore. That was rejected by the city but it was exactly the kind of business that might work there.

If somebody can rent tubes or miniature sailboats or sell some trinkets, and it adds to the fun, why not? And there’s no need to restrict such things to the outer edges — let them into designated zones inside the park.

Last summer, the City decided not to open the old concession and instead allowed food trucks in, with mixed success. So even a small coffee shop along the beach would be just fine.

Sometimes we generalize too much. It’s not that all business is bad; it’s only a matter of choosing the right ones.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8179 Articles) 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 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.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Nothing inherently wrong with allowing businesses in Riverside

  1. A hotel, a parking lot, a large building versus a coffee and gadgets kiosk…Riverside park will never be the same! Kidding now…the difference between loving it or hating it definitely would boil down to “footprint”.

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