Why not put outdoor rink on McArthur Island?

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 4, 2017 - 5:35am

KAMLOOPS — Good turnout this past weekend at the first open house on what to do with the old golf course on McArthur Island — lots of standing around discussing possibilities, and posting of sticky notes on maps with preferred options.

Among the many ideas were RV parking, pickle ball courts, a botanical garden, disc golf, a nature park — and yes, I saw one for a dog park.

When City staff and council get down to decisions, they’ll have a lot to think about. They should start by weeding out proposals that cater to a narrow group of people, and look instead at how to put the area to multiple uses for the greatest numbers.

I’m becoming convinced of the Kamloops Naturalist Club’s suggestion of a nature park: relatively low cost and low maintenance, and enjoyment for a broad segment of the public.

But it’s not the only thing the land could be used for.

The Kamloops Outdoor Skating Association has been lobbying hard for the past couple of years for a refrigerated outdoor skating rink at Riverside Park. Visions are painted of the quintessential Canadian experience, gliding across the ice on a crisp winter’s day or evening under a gently falling snow.

The idea has a lot going for it, though cost is a concern for some. Another problem is the proposed location. Why sacrifice another piece of the city’s premier park when there’s room elsewhere, namely McArthur Island?

An outdoor skating rink would fit in nicely with the concept of creating all-season outdoor experiences on the Island, and there’s lots of room. I would think existing utility connections at the old golf course could be used, unlike Riverside Park.

Sometimes, it takes two good ideas working together for both of them to succeed.

Tomorrow, by the way, I’m going to talk about another outdoor rink idea that isn’t nearly as good — the $5.6-million blunder on Parliament Hill.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.