Students have been out and about in North Kamloops, snapping photos of places important to them and considering ways in which they would like to see the area develop in the future.
The city has found creative ways in which to engage youth during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting their feedback on the future of the North Shore for an update to its neighbourhood plan via Zoom meetings and a photography assignment.
City of Kamloops community planner Carmin Mazzotta said the city met virtually with seven classes at NorKam senior secondary and Brocklehurst middle school beginning in late September through this week. NorKam students were given a photo assignment, asked to take photos of areas on the North Shore that resonate or have value to them, Students then, as a class, selected images to present to the city during a Zoom meeting. The images have since been amalgamated by the city in an online map, providing insight for community planners who will take that information and utilize it to inform future policy.
“Youth are the future, so it’s important to hear their voice,” Mazzotta said, noting young people don’t often attend city events like open houses, so it is important to meet them where they are at.
Brock middle school students were involved in a broader design exercise, looking at vacant property and discussing potential opportunities.
Some places captured through images by students included Holt Beach, adjacent McArthur Island, as well as McArthur Island Park and Overlander Beach. Sunsets and weather in the valley bottom other themes. Mazzotta said students appreciate McArthur Island’s skateboard park, butterfly garden and green space and they would like to see continued improvements to the park in the future.
In addition, students told the city said they would like to see improved access to Rivers Trail and Overlander Park beach, safety ropes for swimming in the river, a concession at Overlander Park beach, better food options at Northills Centre, a youth centre for after school activities and opportunities to express themselves creatively, such as a graffiti wall.
The city has in the past met with students during other planning exercises, including for the KamPlan and Downtown Plan. The pandemic threw a wrench in the process this time, but savvy principals and teachers made possible Zoom meetings.
Meanwhile, the city is hosting two upcoming open houses as it continues to work on the North Shore Neighbourhood Plan. On Wednesday, Nov. 18, an open house will be held at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 675 Tranquille Rd., and include a presentation and feedback on preliminary ideas. It will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Nov. 21, the city will include draft design concepts during an open house at the same location, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“They’re basically concept drawings of what potentially could be on the Tranquille Market corridor and the North Shore Town Centre — that’s the area where Northills mall is,” city community planning manager Jason Locke said. “We’re looking for vacant, unused site, areas that have been vacant for some time and what is the best use.”
Due to the pandemic, attendance will be limited and residents are asked to RSVP. For more, go online here.
Meanwhile, check out the youth photojournals online here.