The Concession may be coming back to Riverside Park.
In the summer of 2021, Kamloops council granted Tourism Kamloops permission to operate The Concession, a rental facility at which park visitors could rent watersports equipment — such as kayaks, canoes and waterbikes— for use on the Thompson River and bocce, croquet, yard dice, roll out mats for checkers or chess and more for use in the park.
There were also food trucks brought in as part of the pilot project.
This year, city staff are recommending council approve Tourism Kamloops’ proposal to do so again this summer, along with food and drink services. Council will discuss the staff report at the Tuesday, May 30, meeting.
In 2021, The Concession was operated out of the park’s former food concession building, which has since been demolished. The plan this summer is to run the operation out of the new Riverside Park washroom/lifeguard building.
In a report to council, staff say the endeavour would enhance community and visitor experiences and increase visitation to Riverside Park. If approved, staff recommend a temporary one-year exemption to the parks and public lands bylaw No. 35-66, which prohibits commercial activity in the park.
Tourism Kamloops will be identified as the prime contractor and will manage third-party contractors that are conducting recreational equipment rentals and food and beverage services in the park.
“Until the 2021 pilot project, there had not been support for commercial opportunities in the park except for during special events,” the staff report states. “As families and visitors migrate from larger centres, Kamloops has increased potential to attract new residents, visitors and businesses. To support this growth, Kamloops must expand traditional limitations and further its flexibility to the benefit of our residents and the business community.”
The report notes there is competition from other cities to attract entrepreneurs and businesses to their communities, specifically those connected to outdoor activity.
“Water and waterways have always been a main attractor for recreation and the opportunity to expand on what is already offered would be beneficial to our community, visitors, and businesses,” the report states.
If approved by council, staff said the proposal requires the support and/or input of a number of groups, including new-to-Kamloops business owners/entrepreneurs who moved to the city within the past five years to start a business, existing Kamloops residents who have started a business within the past five years and business owners/entrepreneurs who decided Kamloops was not a fit and moved to a similar-sized community.
There has been no word yet on which local companies will be involved in the project.