In 2021, the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce celebrated 125-years of service to the Kamloops community by erecting Kamloops first parklet outside the Chamber office at 615 Victoria Street in downtown Kamloops in partnership with Acres Enterprises Ltd. and many community partners. But why a parklet?
“As we think about the Kamloops of the future, while reflecting on the devastating effects of COVID-19 – we wanted to create a community gathering space for ALL to enjoy” says, Acacia Pangilinan, Executive Director for the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, “a parklet helps us to imagine what our city can be, while also allowing us to think about new economic developments to create vibrant hubs in our growing community”.
There are many benefits to activating public space in the form of a parklet. A parklet is an extended platform over a parking space and traditionally includes public seating and landscaping. It is a space that is open and accessible to everyone in the community – much like a park. They are an alternative to vehicle traffic and encourage foot traffic, which removes barriers between those who have vehicles and those who do not.
A parklet can be used for any number of purposes by everyone in the community. For the homeless, they can be a great place to rest their feet. High school and college students can meet with friends there to work on projects or just to spend time together after classes while sipping a Frappuccino from The Vic. For working people, parklets can provide a great place to hold meetings that provide a more dynamic setting than a stuffy boardroom.
Besides the social benefits, there are also economic benefits to activating parklets in place of parking stalls. Many businesses only have a certain number of parking spaces available, and parking spaces are expensive not only to purchase but to maintain. A study done in Melbourne, Australia, reported that parklets generated nearly twice the amount of revenue when placed outside businesses as parking spaces do, because having parklets instead of parking spaces makes those businesses available to everyone, not just people with vehicles.
Parklets can remove barriers to accessibility in the community that parking spaces maintain. If streets were closed to vehicle traffic in favour of pedestrians, more people would be able to access the businesses there, which would lead to more customer service.
The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce wants to sincerely thank all the community partners and members who created Kamloops first parklet, including:
Acres Enterprise Ltd for steering this project, providing supplies and providing labour
BlueGreen Architecture & Interior Design for designing the parklet and design consultation
City of Kamloops for providing guidance and donating the parking stalls for usage
Decor 8 Painting for supplies and materials
Kamloops Alarm for security services
Kamloops Home Hardware Building Centre for donating expertise, supplies and materials
Lyons Landscaping and Garden Centre for adding greenery to the space.
Trout Creek Lumber and Building Systems for providing lumber and labour
Varsteel Ltd for providing steel.