City council moved ahead today (April 25, 2017) with plans to tear down the Kamloops Daily News building and “temporarily” put up a parking lot.
After hearing from concerned residents and downtown businesses, council accepted recommendations from staff to ask for bids on the teardown and on paving the site in order to provide 90 new parking stalls.
Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association president Mike O’Reilly told council the downtown will be losing 114 stalls due to other projects, so there will still be a net loss. “We are now in a critical situation,” he said.
Just what those projects are, however, wasn’t revealed, as staff said they’re confidential due to land issues.
Deputy Mayor Arjun Singh, sitting in for Peter Milobar who is campaigning in the provincial election, was one of those supporting the teardown, saying he viewed it as “an interim measure” and adding, “We all want to see something happen there.”
Coun. Pat Wallace said the parking lot is “hopefully a temporary option” but said the old KDN building is “a deterrent to any future purchaser.”
The recommendation from staff asked for authorization to spend $30,000 to go through a bidding process for the preparation of bidding documents for demolition, with the contract award to be brought back to council for approval, and to undertake a detailed design and cost estimate, at a cost of $20,000, for the parking lot. That would also be brought back to council for approval.
After council approved the recommendation to proceed by a 5-1 vote, Coun. Denis Walsh moved that a “second opinion” be obtained from an engineer on the viability of a proposal from a residents’ group to turn the property into a scaled-down version of the failed $91-million performing arts centre proposal, but he received no support.
In other business, council:
- moved ahead with the concept of moving the Kamloops Museum and Archives into the Stuart Wood School building, which will require First Nations and provincial permissions due to legal issues around title of the school.
- decided to add another public meeting to the Ajax mine process in June so residents can hear first-hand the results of an independent consultants’ study of the project.
- received a 1,009-name petition from the TRU Eco Club opposing Ajax.
- observed a minute’s silence in honour of former mayor John Dormer, who died April 14.