British Columbia

New Kamloops 'carbon park' calls for 40 types of trees, amphitheatre, nature education

The City of Kamloops hopes park improvements in the city’s Aberdeen neighbourhood will not only make the area more pleasant but also educate residents about the city’s connection to nature.

$129K project largely covered by corporate grants

The City of Kamloops' Glen Cheetham stands in West Highlands Park as it appears today. The city plans to make major changes to the park to promote sustainability. (Doug Herbert/CBC)

The City of Kamloops hopes park improvements in the city's Aberdeen neighbourhood will not only make the area more pleasant but also educate residents about the city's connection to nature.

This week, council approved developing a "carbon park" at West Highlands Park. 

Glen Cheetham, sustainability supervisor for the city, said the goal is to help offset the city's carbon emissions while also illustrating how carbon works as a building block for life and how nature can absorb it.

He told Daybreak Kamloops's Doug Herbert the carbon park project is "an opportunity to look at our parks through a different lens."

"We're all pretty familiar with parks, and we have naturalized parks and we have manicured parks and they all serve important functions," Cheetham said. "This is trying to be more explicit in that and exploring the themes of urban parks and how they interact with urban development."

According to a council document, the park will be revamped by "adding new amenities and creating an interpretive educational program that will explore how the urban forest, urban agriculture, and urban development are interconnected and how they contribute to climate change, air quality, wildlife habitat, energy conservation and quality of life."

West Highlands Park is formerly a golf course and then became soccer fields.

The carbon park project calls for the planting of up to 40 different species of trees, opportunities for community gardening, the construction of an amphitheatre and the development of an educational program.

A City of Kamloops council document contained this diagram of the envisioned carbon park in West Highlands Park. (City of Kamloops)

The cost to the city of building the park is approximately $25,000, according to council documents. Grants from TD Bank and CN Rail are covering the remainder of the park's $129,000 budget.

The city estimates the park will open in the spring of 2019.

Listen to the full story:

With files from Doug Herbert and CBC Radio One's Daybreak Kamloops

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