The City of Kamloops should consider building a performing-arts centre, a new pool facility and a trio of ice rinks in the future.
On Tuesday, city council was given an update on its new recreation master plan being drafted by consultant RC Strategies.
A non-profit society is working with arts groups and the community to advance the arts centre project, with tasks identified: developing a new business case, communications strategy, enlisting community support through a membership drive, providing input into design of the project and fundraising.
Consultant Stephen Slawuta of RC Strategies said the city should continue to explore the viability of an arts centre.
“See where it leads and move forward based on the directive of that business case initiative,” he said.
An arts centre was identified as a top priority following community input in the draft plan, Slawuta said.
He added that visits to city pools has been increasing over the past four years.
While RC found the city does a good job providing most aquatic services, leisure aquatic activities was identified as a gap area.
The master plan suggests exploring adding another indoor aquatics facility with leisure activities as the focus and taking a deeper dive into details of such a development such as whether the pool should be a standalone or multi-use facility, costs, impacts on other city pools and a location in an area of the city where this type of service is lacking.
When it comes to ice rinks in Kamloops, Slawuta said RC’s investigation into usage suggests their are some challenges.
“In this case, your facilities are at or over capacity and that would suggest there is a need to increase the provision of ice,” he said, noting the city will need to invest in upgrading its existing ice rinks over time.
Slawuta said RC’s analysis shows bringing the city’s prime time ice usage — evening and weekend hours between September and March — down to 85 per cent from the current 100 per cent would require at least three more sheets.
“And 85 per cent prime time utilization is still a very high level of utilization, but we think that is a reasonable target,” he said.
The master plan suggests adding one or two new ice rinks in the next three to seven years, and another one or two sheets in seven to 12 years.
In the medium term, the plan suggests exploring adding more indoor dry floor field space when considering building any arenas or aquatics facilities, Slawuta said.
In the short term, the plan recommends continued engagement with the school district to ensure community access to those facilities.
Slawuta said the city should continue to monitor usage at spirts fields and ball diamonds and focus on quality over quantity of those spaces.
On a case-by-case basis, the city should explore its opportunities to make improvements and enhancements to those facilities such as adding washroom, seating and improving playing surfaces.
As for the city’s two curling rinks, Slawuta suggested the city continue to support those operations as long as they are viable.
“At some point, it’s likely something is going to call viability into question,” Slawuta said, noting possibilities such as a drop in participation or a major repair of one of the city’s curling facilities.
If and when this happens, Slawuta said, it would be prudent to discuss consolidating the clubs and retrofit one of the two facilities for a different, dry floor surface sport.
The master plan recommends the city more closely monitor its court spaces to determine if sports like tennis and pickle ball are in high demand and require further study, Slawuta said.
Indoor play spaces were also looked at, Slawuta said, noting those spaces should be considered when exploring future development and multi-use facilities.
The city should consider ensuring its existing recreational infrastructure is sustained before contemplating new development, Slawuta said.
Multi-use spaces should be prioritized along with inclusion and access, he said.
Feedback collected on the draft plan will be incorporated into the plan and brought before council for adoption at a later date.
The public will have a chance to give its input on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at Sports Central Lounge in the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre and on Oct. 3 at Heritage House in Riverside Park, at 100 Lorne St.