A compelling vision for the future of Downtown Kamloops

MODUS delivers a public lecture and design charrette to create a compelling vision for the future of Downtown Kamloops

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MODUS recently delivered a public lecture and multi-day design charrette to create a compelling vision for the future of Downtown Kamloops. Working closely with City of Kamloops staff and collaborators Cal Srigley and Frank Ducote, MODUS facilitate a multi-day design charrette to translate community, stakeholder and staff priorities for the future of Downtown Kamloops into a vision - represented through annotated site plans, sectional studies and character sketches.

The Downtown vision, as presented to the public at the end of the three and a half day charrette, illustrated a logical and compelling future for Downtown Kamloops and reconciled many longstanding issues related to public realm improvement, redevelopment of key sites, circulation and major amenity programming within the downtown. The vision was very well received at a public open house and provides substantial support for Staff’s ongoing effort to finalize the Plan for Downtown Kamloops.

This engagement-led planning and design method reflects the City of Kamloops’ progressive approach and supports buy-in from the community and the creation of a vision that reflects shared objectives and values to ensure the ultimate success of the Plan.

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The process created a vision with four fundamental “anchors” for the future of downtown, reflective of a mid-sized city coming into its own. These included:

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Creating a Heart for Downtown : While recognizing the Kamloops riverfront as a remarkable community amenity, it was noted that the downtown is disconnected from the riverfront and needs its own, well-defined “heart”. A number of potential locations were proposed, with the most immediately implementable option proposed at 4th Avenue at the heart of Kamloops’ “Main Street” (Victoria Street). The idea is to close a short section of 4th Avenue to vehicle traffic and create a pedestrian plaza.


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The Alley Stroll: building on the current use of Kamloops’ downtown alleys for pedestrian shortcutting, ongoing alleyway beautification (murals) and seasonal activities (Brewloops festival) there is opportunity for expansion into a permanent “Alley Stroll” whereby more frequent special events programming and/or commercial uses opening onto the alleys could occur.


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A Home for a Permanent Market: Further supporting a central place for gathering downtown and recognizing the central role of agriculture in the region - as demonstrated at the weekly market on St. Paul Street - a permanent market building is proposed to complement a central plaza space, replacing the existing surface parking lot spanning Victoria to Seymour Street. An alternate location for the permanent market and plaza was also explored adjacent to the current Farmers’ Street Market site and former Stuart Wood elementary facility (reimagined as a “learning hub”)


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Performing Arts Centre: With a need for a central venue to host threatre, music and dance performances in the Downtown, a centre is proposed with potential public-private partnerships (significant development potential as identified in a landmark tower site) to offset the costs of such a significant public amenity. 


These sites - along with the continued investment within the 500 block of Victoria – offer the potential to create a remarkably vibrant, compact and walkable downtown core for Kamloops.

Additional opportunities were explored around the government precinct lands (with a particular focus on affordable/family housing) and the Petersen Creek greenway (with a focus on alternative transportation and a potential elementary school site).