Bepple: Planning now reaps rewards in 40 years

The City of Kamloops has excellent plans in place for a host of different issues from fire to floods, roads to parks. While plans often take years to complete, having them in place pays off immensely.

Having grown up in Kamloops, I really appreciate the benefits of good planning. The roadways laid out around the city over the last 40 years, such as the bypass for Highway 1 from Aberdeen to Valleyview, were based on good planning. Forty years ago, City planners foresaw the growth of the city and planned roads to meet the needs of today's city.

The fact that Kamloops avoided major flooding this June was due not only to the hard work of the crews who worked into the night to construct berms and block manhole covers. First and foremost, major flooding was avoided because of the planning that went in ahead of time.

Planning ensured City staff had the necessary survey and construction skills, the City knew where to get the materials to build the berms, and mapping information for flood prone areas was available. With time sensitive work such as flood prevention, planning is key to success.

Over the next couple of weeks, City council will be reviewing two plans: the parks master plan and the airshed management plan.

The airshed management plan is a new plan. City of Kamloops has never had one before. The plan took most of the last council to develop. A committee of community members, technical experts, TNRD and TIB representatives and others directed the development of the plan. Community members had input through surveys and open houses.

On July 17, City council will review the plan in a workshop. If adopted by City council, the recommendations of the plan will guide policies for emitters such as wood stoves, slash burning and vehicle idling.

The parks master plan is a revision to an existing plan. Council will review this plan in a workshop on July 31. Just as with the airshed management plan, the parks plan took a number of years to produce. Individuals and sports groups from across the city were consulted.

If adopted by City council, the plan could lead to new parks and community centres being built. It will also give guidance on balancing the needs of different parks users from mountain bikers to dog walkers, from individuals to organized sports groups.

Just as it took years to build the planned roadways around Kamloops, the airshed and parks master plans will take time to be fully implemented. Some changes can be implanted more quickly than others.

Often, when restrictions are put in place for things such as emissions from woodstoves, there needs to be time for existing emitters to adapt. Any time a park is built, money must first be budgeted. Any time a sports group gets moved from one location, another location must be found first.

By putting in place an airshed plan and a parks plan today, 40 years from now Kamloops citizens will benefit.

Coun. Nancy Bepple can be contacted at nbepple@kamloops.ca.

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