Kamloops council approves new committee to work on recreation-focused plan

Ambitious committee struck

Kamloops council has voted in favour of striking a new committee to help the city make headway on an ambitious plan involving the development of new recreation and civic facilities.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, City of Kamloops CAO David Trawin said the new select committee, along with four working groups, will provide direction to council on how to further the Build Kamloops program, which involves implementing the 2019 Recreation Master Plan.

The plan, adopted by the past council, identifies the need for a performing arts centre, additional ice surfaces, a larger curling venue and a new swimming pool, among other facilities.

Trawin noted council’s newly announced strategic plan includes areas of focus on recreation, culture and a healthy community.

“One of the key parts of that during the discussions when we were building the strategic plan was the Build Kamloops initiative,” he said.

“Based upon that, staff are recommending that council form a Build Kamloops council select committee with four working groups.”

Trawin said the select committee will receive information from the four working groups, which will focus on communications, concept development, user engagement and finance.

“Some of the areas they will be looking at will be what is actually included in the Build Kamloops program, where that will be included, how is that going to be be funded,” Trawin said, noting a referendum could also be discussed.

In a report prepared for council, the Build Kamloops program is defined as a way to “re-establish the city’s prominence as Canada’s Tournament Capital, foster our recognition as a premier destination for arts and culture, and keep pace with our recreation and leisure needs as Canada’s third fastest-growing city.”

Trawin noted the committee and working group structure was based on the original Tournament Capital model used during former mayor Mel Rothenburger’s tenure.

Council voted 8-1 in favour of striking the committee, which will include five councillors: Kelly Hall, Margot Middleton, Katie Neustaeter, Dale Bass and Mike O’Reilly. O’Reilly was named as committee chair.

Coun. Nancy Bepple will act as a liaison on the program finance working group. Coun. Bill Sarai will be liaison for the user engagement group, Coun. Stephen Karpuk will be the liaison for the concept development group, and Bass will be the communications liaison.

Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson was the only council member opposed to the move, and also didn’t accept an invitation from O’Reilly to be part of the select committee.

Hamer-Jackson said he wanted members of the public to be involved on the committee.

The associated working groups are proposed to include staff, representatives from external groups, as well as members of the public.

“By dividing into working groups, and putting some public and user groups on it, you can actually get more people involved then you can a select committee and keep it more workable,” Trawin said.

He added it can be “cumbersome" to have one large committee made up of several people, and noted the working groups can focus on addressing distinct topics.

O’Reilly said having the working groups outside the committee is efficient, as it allows multiple things to happen concurrently.

Neustaeter noted the number of citizens who could join the working groups in this model would outnumber those who could be involved in Hamer-Jackson’s proposed model of one singular committee.

“When we also consider that these things will certainly also be pressed down into our engagement groups, which have 120 or more members of the public, we're certainly looking at massive input,” Neustaeter said, adding interest groups will be engaged as well.

“I just wanted to offer that reassurance and understanding this is a model that is more inclusive of people in general and in the general public than any other one that I've seen.”

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