Kamloops council wants more engagement with the business community and others on a strategy to improve transportation options downtown.
Council has unanimously supported a call for further engagement and additional workshop time on the downtown transportation choices strategy. Councillors Mike O’Reilly and Kathy Sinclair want to hear more from the business community, while Coun. Dale Bass wants to engage neighbourhood associations outside of the city’s core.
“I just think that if we’re going to talk about stopping people from driving downtown, we need to talk to the people who are driving downtown,” Bass said.
Council received an update on Tuesday at a committee of the whole meeting. The city retained contractor WSP for $100,000 to develop the strategy. Council previously nixed a parking study at that price tag and redirected staff to expand the scope to include opportunities to increase alternative transportation.
On Tuesday, council heard downtown parking is adequate for the next five years, with a limited number of locations expected to exceed capacity in the next decade. Available stalls were counted on weekdays and during an event, in addition to a survey distributed to businesses and via the Let’s Talk page.
Though it found the number of stalls to be adequate, the review determined the parking spaces could be better managed.
Other recommendations at the preliminary stage include hiring or reassigning staff as a full-time transportation choices strategy, creating a program to encourage alternative transportation among city staff so they can “walk the walk,” creating a workplace travel program toolkit, creation of a bike rack inventory, working with service providers to launch car and e-bike sharing and continuing to improve facilities and services.
No price tags for such initiatives are or will be included in the plan.
Though optimistic about proposed green transportation initiatives, Coun. Kathy Sinclair said she has heard of a long-term parking shortage downtown as council liaison for the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association. Coun. Mike O’Reilly added big brands seeking space downtown require 50 to 75 stalls within a two-block radius.
Others council wants asked to the table include BC Transit and the BC Sustainable Energy Association.
A stakeholders workshop will be held on Sept. 6 and a public open house will be held at the Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market on Sept. 7. Discussion will return to council chambers during another committee of the whole meeting, at a later date to be determined.