Better-connected pathways and trails, more (and wider) sidewalks, perhaps a pedestrian bridge across the Thompson River, more clothing stores and formal dining and a more generous revitalization tax-exemption policy.
These are a few of many suggestions designed to revitalize the commercial zones on the North Shore.
They are contained in the 2019 North Shore Business Improvement Association Membership and Community Planning Input Sessions Report, a document created via consultation between the NSBIA staff and board and its member businesses.
The report details members’ ideas under five key themes: infrastructure, commercial growth, transportation, community building and common spaces.
NSBIA executive director Jeremy Heighton said another document in the coming weeks will outline which projects to various budget lists.
The North Shore houses about 43 per cent of Kamloops’ population, with 39.225 people living north of the river. There are 430 businesses serving the area.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Read the ideas below and tell KTW what you would like to see done on the North Shore.
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Here are some highlights of feedback in each of the themes:
1. Infrastructure: focus on more easily navigable sidewalks, connect existing trails systems, improve Tranquille Corridor sidewalks by reducing the number of planter boxes, increasing seating-only benches (with bars to discourage lounging) and expanding lighting to include sidewalks.
2. Commercial growth: seek more diversity in children’s and women’s clothing stores, pursue a department store and/or smaller boutique outlets, help establish a more formal, adult-style restaurant to join the 43 eateries now on the North Shore,
3. Transportation: scrap parking-minimum rules for developers and let the market determine the ratio, creating partial transit service earlier in the morning and later at night and have Kamloops Airport pursue international designation more stridently.
4. Community building: create areas where buskers and public art can be featured, emphasize festival events such as Brewfest, connect the North Shore to downtown with an expanded footbridge separate from Overlanders Bridge, examine the possibility of more dog parks and the return of a pool to McDonald Park and address safety issues at street level.
There was also talk of revamping the existing revitalization tax-exemption policy to be more accessible for smaller property owners and to encourage redevelopment and upgrading of older properties, Suggestions included 100 per cent property tax exemption for 10 years (minimum $100,000 investment), for 7.5 years (minimum $75,000 investment), for five years (minimum $50,000 investment) and for three years (minimum $35,000 investment).
5. Commons spaces: create more lively green spaces along corridors, focus on street-level activities and repurpose under-utilized areas.
The report did note that the area’s homeless population emerged as a central theme throughout the input process.
“Many respondents were unable to articulate their desire to be socially responsible and balance it with the desire to reside in a safe and prosperous community that balances the needs of all parties,” the report stated. “Community-supportive housing was supported, with the consideration of community expectations being fulfilled.”