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With McArthur Island's ring road newly paved, a reminder to take it slow

Completion of improvements to the McArthur Island ring road came in on budget ($350,000) and slightly ahead of schedule.
McArthur Island ring road
The first phase of the McArthur Island ring road project, which included repaving the southern section of the roadway and installing a new multi-use pathway, was completed last year. The second and final phase was finished this spring.

Drivers need to be reminded that the speed limit on the ring road around McArthur Island is 20 km/h.

The reminder comes after the city’s recent road improvements. The area was once known for its seemingly natural speed bumps.

“The road was such poor shape that people had to drive slow,” City of Kamloops parks manager Jeff Putnam said. “But because it’s in good shape now, we’ve had to put some speed bumps in.”

Completion of improvements to the McArthur Island ring road came in on budget and slightly ahead of schedule, according to Putnam. The first phase of the project — one portion of the ring road reconstruction, from the old golf course clubhouse to the arena — was completed last summer and the city completed the remainder of the road this spring, at a cost of $350,000.

In addition to reconstructing the road, the city also fixed up pathway that runs parallel to the road.

“The path is a little bit wider in a few sections, a lot smoother, so it’s a lot more safer and accessible to use,” Putnam said, noting he has received good feedback on the ring road rehabilitation project.

“One lady said she could never go there in a wheelchair and now she can go around the whole island,” he said.

Last year, the city temporarily closed the ring road to vehicular traffic in order to provide residents with a place to walk safely at a distance as pandemic-related protocols were being enacted.

The ring road rehabilitation work is part of continued improvements to the North Kamloops recreation mecca.

This year, the city also continues work on the McArthur Island Community Park, in the former golf course area. Putnam said the city will be installing a pit toilet (similar to ones found at provincial campgrounds), picnic area and naturalized playground, budgeted to be $812,000.

“We’re just looking at concepts for that area right now,” he said.

Mac (or should that be Mc?) talk

If you’ve been around Kamloops for a while, particularly hanging around soccer fields, you have probably heard the terms “Mac Island” or “Mac Isle.”

In fact, “Mac Island” and “Mac Isle” are terms short for “McArthur Island,” which — technically — isn’t short for “McArthur Island” at all.

A newcomer to Kamloops raised the issue with KTW, questioning the shorthand moniker and noting Lower Mainland soccer facilities are referenced by acronyms, similar to how the city abbreviates the Tournament Capital Ranch as the “TCR” or Tournament Capital Centre as the “TCC.”

In that case, McArthur Island Park would be shortened to “MIP.”

Asked about the origins of “Mac Island,” Putnam said it is a pet peeve of his at the city, a reference that causes him to cringe. Putnam said the reference does not correctly shorten “McArthur” and also noted the park is commonly misspelled.

“I don’t know the history, but it’s been around way longer than I’ve been around,” he said of the “Mac Island” moniker.

Putnam suggested alternative slang terms for the park could include “the island” or “McArthur.”