About a dozen Kamloops residents attended an engagement session Wednesday held to receive one more round of feedback on North Shore Neighbourhood Plan before the final draft is presented to council.
The in-person meeting was at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, while an online meeting was hosted for a small turnout over Zoom on Tuesday night.
Eric Beach, the City of Kamloops’ planning manager, said the two sessions were held to present the plan and its vision to the public a final time after years of being in the works, noting city staff turnover delayed the plan’s rollout.
“We've done engagement for at least two years on this plan, so this is kind of the final wrap-up just to present the plan to the public that they really already contributed in, in forming all these ideas,” Beach said.
Several posters were set up around the room outlining parts of the plan, including distinct characters envisioned for each neighbourhood, maps showing active transportation network extensions, and an outline of the city’s short to long term action items.
Beach said the plan will lay the groundwork for the North Shore’s development, factoring in housing, active transportation, parks and densification.
While elements of the plan will require private developers to invest in the area, things like active transportation networks and sidewalks are the responsibility of the city — unless a developer is handed the role of upgrading frontage on their property.
Beach said so far over the two engagement sessions, he had only received positive feedback about the draft plan.
“Everyone loves the vision, everyone likes the direction it's going. We're building on the former North Shore plan, which you see a lot of development happening now that was part of that plan,” he said.
North Shore property owners Robert and Marlene Crowther said they attended to see the draft plans for the first time, and felt it was “really wonderful” to see the North Shore develop.
Carol Lindsay, part of the North Shore Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Group, said she felt there was a lot of good things laid out in the draft plan.
Lindsay said she wants to see Rivers Trail continue through more areas of the city — a plan put forward in the draft document — and more infrastructure to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
North Shore resident Ken Favrholdt said he felt the plan needed more measures to slow traffic, like narrowing streets. He said he also hopes the city will make proactive moves to protect trees along Royal Avenue.
Favrholdt said he felt the vision for the Tranquille corridor held potential, with improvements to shops and signage, noting that it will take private developers’ buy-in.
The city document said the Tranquille corridor development is planned to be pedestrian and transit-oriented, allowing for a mix of low and mid-rise commercial and residential buildings.
“Tranquille has improved over the years, because I've lived here for 35 years, I’ve seen the changes. But there's also the downside, which is vagrancy, homelessness. … It takes a multi-pronged approach to deal with all these issues, which aren't necessarily land use,” he said.
Mac Gordon said he felt the plan was “a rehash from 14 years ago” — the document was last updated in 2008 — and felt it should have incorporated a vision for the Tranquille on the Lake area, and plans for furthering environmentally-friendly technology like solar power.
Nancy Bepple — a former Kamloops councillor who is running again in the fall election — said she felt it was good to have a vision for the future, and supported proposed density changes and the encouragement of more housing types.
Bepple said she wished the plan was stronger on bicycle infrastructure and designing for those with mobility issues.
Beach said his favourite part of the plan involves creating more waterfront access.
“We don't have enough in waterfront development in Kamloops, [we’ve] kind of just turned our back to the river. So I think getting some boardwalks and restaurants and that kind of vibe down there — become a tourist attraction that people will just come to Kamloops for that — that’s the cool part I see,” he said.
“But again, it's comes down to developers getting on board as well. It's all private lands.”
A survey is open to accept feedback on the plan until June 30.
Beach said the city plans to go back to its advisory committee and other stakeholders to see if there are any final thoughts, and will make changes to the plan that come out of the public engagement sessions.
The final draft of the North Shore Neighbourhood Plan is scheduled to go before the committee of the whole in early July.