Residents north of the Thompson River can prepare to sharpen their skates and pump up their bike tires as the city plans a set of improvements in North Kamloops’ McDonald Park and Westsyde Centennial Park.
On Monday, the city’s civic operations committee gave staff approval to proceed with plans for a mini-BMX track in Westsyde Centennial Park and a natural outdoor skating rink in McDonald Park.
City parks manager Jeff Putnam told the committee the Westsyde Neighbourhood Association came to the city requesting a mini-BMX track in Centennial Park. The park, located at 705 Franklin Rd., currently contains soccer fields, a slo-pitch diamond, a water park, a playground, an off-leash dog area and a multi-purpose arena.
“They [neighbourhood association] seem very excited. There’s a portion of Westsyde Centennial Park that’s kind of passive,” Putnam said. “It’s just basically grass right now, right off the parking lot, between the parking lot and the dyke and the dog park and the river.”
Putnam said cost to set up the track will be $8,000, plus the cost of soil, which the Westsyde community has told the city it will donate. He said the city’s tab could be covered with pre-existing funds. The committee voted unanimously in support of the project, with councillors Dieter Dudy, Dale Bass and Bill Sarai in favour.
The committee also directed staff to explore a business case for outdoor skating in McDonald Park. The committee heard the idea had first been brought forward to the city as a bid for outdoor skating on the slough at nearby McArthur Island. Putnam said the west end slough has a liner and holds water. However, the area poses access issues during the winter and lacks lighting.
“There’d be a lot of protocols and costs involved,” Putnam said, noting the city has never before maintained ice on a natural water surface.
The city instead looked to McDonald Park, which has seen a number of changes recently, including a new dog park and murals on the building housing washrooms.
Putnam said the new outdoor court surface in McDonald Park fit the bill, with appropriate lighting and washroom services. Staff consulted with the city’s parks engagement group prior to bringing the idea to the civic operations committee.
The tentative plan would be to retrofit the outdoor court surface with boards and allow flooding and natural freezing during winter months, similar to the outdoor community rink in Pineview Valley. Costs are unclear at this time, but Putnam noted the tab would include set-up of the rink and staff time. There will be no refrigeration unit as the rink will exist based on the whims of Mother Nature.
The committee voted unanimously for staff to create a business case.