KAMLOOPS — The idea of an outdoor skating rink in Kamloops is another step closer to becoming a reality — but there's still plenty of work to do.
Tomorrow (Dec. 18), council must consider whether or not to apply for a provincial grant to seek funding for the proposed project.
City staff has recommended that council create the Riverside Park Recreation and Revitalization Project, which would be needed to apply for a grant.
After a study on the idea of a refrigerated outdoor ice rink, Riverside Park was chosen as the potential location for it. Staff will present the findings of the study to council tomorrow, and out of five potential locations the Riverside Park spray park was chosen as the ideal location for the rink, edging out McArthur Island, Riverside Park's concession area, the Downtown Civic Plaza, and McDonald Park.
If council does authorize the creation of the project, that will allow the City to apply for a provincial grant to make it happen, which would include other revitalizations to the park.
"Riverside Park offers a hub of activity for the community," the report to council reads. "The addition of the outdoor skating facility will provide a year-round activity space in Riverside Park. The project would also include an opportunity to renovate and reface the existing washrooms and change rooms near the beach area as well as repair/replacement of the existing spray park."
It would cost roughly $3 million to build the ice rink — which would be funded by the grant if approved — and approximately $120,000 to run it annually.
City staff consulted with the firm Urban Systems in identifying potential amenities for the rink.
The skating surface would be the approximate size of an NHL arena, would not be used for stick and puck, boards consisting of small, removable wooden curbs, a fire pit with benches, and video surveillance and lighting. These amenities are not set in stone, and if the project and grant are both approved, council would still need to authorize these.
As part of the project, upgrades to Riverside Park and the Rivers Trail would include potential reconstruction in the area of bank stabilization, upgrading the trail to meet current standards, replacing pedestrian lighting with LED fixtures, plaza upgrades, constructing a viewing platform, installing new arbours and installing irrigation.
"Because Riverside Park was the preferred location for the outdoor skating facility, staff completed some conceptual engineering and designs to replace and improve existing infrastructure to support the skating rink," states the report. "More specifically, staff are proposing to combine a new outdoor skating rink and water park into one facility. The existing spray park is almost 30 years old, and staff estimate it will need to be replaced within the next five years."
The existing washroom and storage building would be repurposed to include upgraded washrooms, storage, ice plant and operating equipment and Zamboni storage.
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