Phase 2 of the new Downtown Plan has been completed, and amongst the public feedback and concerns, six key sites were identified as ideal places for potential projects.
While the six sites aren't all publicly owned, community planner Jason Locke told city council on Aug. 28 that the ideas could be used to guide future decisions, and the concepts stem from ideas put forth by the public during city consultations.
"It's important to note here, that the ideas ... are not meant to be final plans or drawings," he told council. "Instead, they form a framework of ideas for further refinement and development of the downtown plan."
The six sites are mostly located along Victoria Street and Seymour Street. One is a pedestrian plaza concept at Forth Avenue and Victoria Street, which locals already saw a rough version of when a pilot project ran earlier this summer.
Two more are near each other, with the former Value Village neighbouring Impark parking lot a potential site for a civic plaza and market hub bordering on the TNRD building, while the former Kamloops Daily News site (now a city-owned parking lot) could become a performing arts centre with more pedestrian-friendly spaces to help slow Seymour Street.
Locke mentioned during his presentation that if developments along Seymour Street occur, there needs to be a discussion on the fact it is currently a trucking corridor.
The fourth concept presented was between St. Paul Street and Seymour Street in the 200 block, with a concept called "Kamloops Square," which could include mixed-use infill and pedestrian enhancements.
A more blue-sky idea was presented for the Peterson Creek area, with the naturalization of the creek combined with mixed infill along a section of it, including a school and connection to the multi-use Peterson Creek Path.
"This design concept proposes to redevelop three blocks from Sixth Avenue to Seventh Avenue from Nicola Street to Seymour Street," Locke told council. "This would require significant land assembly."
The sixth site discussed was actually two that would work together south of Columbia Street and west of Sixth Avenue. Much of the land is owned by the province, currently, Locke told council. One section would be a mix of commercial space as well as medium-density homes, like townhomes or walk-up apartments. The other section, farther south, would be a community space with affordable housing and medium-density housing.
All concepts are just that at this point, Locke said, and the Downtown Plan (which will guide decisions for the downtown area) is still being developed, likely to be adopted next spring.
"It's impossible to put a timetable on (those concepts)," Locke said. "It depends on market conditions, the feasibility of doing the development, and other factors as well."
The Fourth Avenue Plaza is the most likely to appear in the near future, he added, but details and plans still need to be developed and approved, and the concept could be shelved if council decides not to pursue it.
Locke's presentation also included feedback from the community. General themes for the concerns heard from the public included wanting more mixed-use development, more residential density, a more pedestrian friendly core, pedestrian-only streets, more parking, more affordable housing, a performing arts centre, more public art, more street trees and more beautification.