Dufferin elementary school has two great, newer playgrounds and a soccer field. Dufferin Park right next door has tennis courts and an airstrip for remote-control airplanes.
But the 3.4 hectares to the north of those properties is sitting empty.
City parks planning supervisor Mike Doll said Friday he’d like as many residents from the area as possible to come to an open house at the school Thursday to glean as many ideas as possible for the land.
It used to be dotted with trees, but the mountain pine beetle killed those off several years ago. Now some new trees are working their way up through the soil and Doll would like to keep them.
At the same time, he wants to see the land used by the neighbourhood. The size of the lot is similar to that of McDonald Park or Juniper Ridge Park.
“Something that complements the existing uses makes sense to me,” he said.
His department has a small pocket of money set aside to help develop something on the land. It’s not enough, say, for a big-ticket item like a waterpark, which starts at $300,000 to $400,000 for the basics.
However, if the neighbourhood wants something beyond his budget, residents can help raise money and lobby council for more.
It also doesn’t have to be limited to just one item. The space is big enough that if some residents want a dog park and others want a small cycling area or a community garden or picnic benches, a few of those ideas might be accommodated.
Doll is hoping for a big turnout at next week’s open house, but he realizes each neighbourhood is different.
The public open house for Aberdeen, where the golf course used to be, drew hundreds and got huge response. Others have had 20, 30, or 40 people turn up.
This area has a lot of newer homes, and the land zoned residential behind the school isn’t all developed yet, so Doll isn’t sure what to expect.
He’s also hoping for a wide range of ideas, and perhaps something unique that isn’t offered in other city parks.
“We are going to be open minded about it,” he said.
The open house runs Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Dufferin elementary school library. Anyone who can’t make it can submit their ideas by going online to www.kamloops.ca/parks or email Doll directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ideas will be gathered until late November, then options will be mapped out based on suggestions. Doll said two or three options will be put out at another open house for residents to vote on.
The favoured choice will be sent off to detailed design and budgeting.