EDITORIAL – Using the last word on semi-automatic rifles and parking

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ONE OF THE great things about this job is having the last word. Today, I’m going to use it twice.

First, quite a few gun owners told me last week I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to firearms, especially the AR-15. My argument was that we should pre-emptively ban all forms of the AR-15 in Canada before it starts showing up on our streets.

But some people say it’s a sweet gun, perfect for hunting.

No hunter I know needs a semi-automatic. If you’re one who thinks you do, could you please tell me why? Is it because you’re a poor shot and you need to get off five rounds in the time it would normally take to fire one?

Maybe that pop-pop-pop-pop-pop just sounds good? Just asking.

Second, for anyone who thought the $100,000 downtown parking study was a good idea because they believed it was about much more than parking, and anyone else thinking the media didn’t properly explain the proposal, let’s review.

This was a study about getting more cars downtown, not about getting rid of them. It wasn’t a “transportation” study on alternatives, as Coun. Kathy Sinclair says it was.

The document submitted to council was titled, and I’ll put this in quotes, “Downtown Parking Study.”

It was to be, and I will quote again, “a comprehensive study of on- and off-street parking supply and demand in the downtown core over the next 20 years.”

Maybe it should have been about something other than parking, but it wasn’t. If anyone wants a “larger conversation” about car sharing and Uber and the future of self-driving cars, and a public education campaign on why people should leave their cars at home, propose one.

But that $100,000 study, as presented, was all about parking.

Speaking of parking, tomorrow I’ll answer the question, has Coun. Denis Walsh gone stark, raving mad?

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6313 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on EDITORIAL – Using the last word on semi-automatic rifles and parking

  1. I’m glad the hundred grand was saved. The taxpayer would be better served by having council watch Tony Seba’s Colorado presentation on YouTube and then reading the news about Waymo turning an autonomous vehicle loose for real last week. They probably won’t need much help doing the arithmetic after that.

    It’s entirely possible that we’ll have reached “Peak Parking” by the time a study is completed and a parking structure is designed, tendered and constructed. Shortly after that there could be pressure for yet another study… “How to Repurpose Parking Structures”…

    Seem unlikely? I thought so too until I started looking more closely into where technology is taking us. Most people are blissfully unaware of how fast the change is occurring. Heck, for that matter, most people aren’t even aware of the change!

  2. Michael O'Brien // November 13, 2017 at 3:23 PM // Reply

    We know we have a parking problem. We have several. A study would only be usefull if the city was willing to act on it. Meaning more parkades for downtown employees to park, possibility of a different paid street parking system. Yes, car share option…and a clearer vision to not only work to solve the current issues but the projected issues we will get if we continue with the densification plans for the downtown core. Knowing just how people are getting in and out of downtown is good so we can improve upon and alternative options. We need a proactive approach not a reactive one. Something that works with the Kam Plan. This does take research to put together a plan. Maybe the parameters need to be refined but that can all happen. Does it cost $100k ? Maybe…. but what else would we be spending the parking reserve fund on to help improve our current situation? Could be money well spent (if we plan on acting on the results).

  3. Cindy Ross Friedman // November 13, 2017 at 11:35 AM // Reply

    Denis Walsh is awesome, in my opinion. I have been following Council, and I would have voted the exact same way as he in the past 4 yrs on I think every issue. Well, I guess that doesn’t necessarily make him awesome; it means we share the same worldview, hence I am extremely biased…

    Good article, Mel. My brother-in-law hunts and says that it is not a fair game (pun intended) to cheat with army-type guns. The only exception would be for Indigenous peoples who eat only what they hunt and need their chances improved. Even people who definitely eat their kills need to really need that meat. I confess I am a near vegetarian and hunting breaks my heart BUT I respect good hunters and hunting practice.

    • Dear Cindy.and Mel,
      I think you’re awsome too. However do not suggest that hunters of conscience don’t grieve for their animals.If hunting of all kinds (ie.Lion verses gazelle) causes you grief then I agree.I always said “thank you” when I killed something.I asked for time alone with my last kill, after ten minutes I called my compagnions back and we did a sweet grass cerimony (or my version of it) for the moose which was now going to feed several of us for a year.
      Incidently the proper term is ” Fair chase” ! .”Fair game” implies that it is OK to kill it.So it may be both. I’ve never known anyone who’s hunting skills improved with the number of bullets delivered.They just become more dangerous with the number of “stray” bullets flying out across the country.And it’s a lot more expensive.
      Please knot that it doesn’t matter if you are vegan or not we all have to kill something to stay alive.Try taking an AR15 to a carrot and see what happens.As with game, each hit destroys a large amount of “meat”.be it Carrot or Moose.

  4. Dave Monsees // November 13, 2017 at 8:31 AM // Reply

    Commenting on why Coun. Denis Walsch has gone stark raving mad, will be as endless as the conversation on down town parking. While you are beating on him, please see if he has an answer why Vernon still has the old meters that Kamloops couldn’t fix, and why Vernons’s parking charge is 25 cents an hour. Maybe we can borrow Vernon’s Council for two days a week?

  5. kathysinclair // November 13, 2017 at 8:25 AM // Reply

    Hello, Mel. You’re absolutely right: the proposal was for a “Downtown Parking Study.” And here is what was included in the Council agenda packages, and one of the reasons I proposed the study was actually about transportation: “Evaluate average daily cost for downtown employee to commute and park vs. alternative modes of transportation (transit, bike and walk).” (That wasn’t included in the Powerpoint presentation onscreen during the meeting.)
    I’m all for alternative transportation. It’s the direction we need to go in as our city grows. I went without a vehicle for years in other cities, but when I moved to Kamloops, I discovered to my dismay that transit service was not going to get me where I needed to go when I needed to get there. That’s improving, but there are many areas of the city that are still not served by bus, or if they are, the service doesn’t always run as frequently or with hours as long as needed.
    It’s all well and good to promote sustainable transportation; I do it a lot. But if transit or cycling is not an option for someone, we need to look at that too. In my opinion, we do a real disservice when we pit drivers against cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders. We’re all just people trying to get around using the options available.
    I understand you don’t think there is a parking problem downtown; I live and work in the city centre, which means I walk most places. I don’t have a parking problem myself, but we’re hearing some do. It could be the hypothetical employee who lives in Juniper and works part-time downtown (and there is no bus route that serves her). Or the hypothetical Barnhartvale father of 2 who could take the bus to work downtown, but he needs his car to drop off his kids at school on the way and take them to soccer practice after.
    A “downtown parking study” is essentially a document looking at how to get people in and out of the downtown. As I see it, the conclusions and recommendations of such a study could include a public education campaign on transit options, the launch of a carshare service or shuttle — not necessarily “let’s build another parkade.” That’s why I spoke at the meeting about it being a transportation study. Thanks.

  6. We do rely on the media and council to reach out and explain things to us.
    Ms. Sinclair gets credit for taking the time and writing a lengthy explanation of sorts in the blog-o-sphere (Facebook). She says one thing, you Mr. Last Word bags to differ and with evidence. I believe you, and perhaps Ms. Sinclair needs to be more careful next time. Mr. Walsh wants to introduce on-demand/dynamic pricing management on the downtown parking which is just the right thing to do, at least prior to reinvent the downtown with pedestrians-only areas.

  7. David Johnson // November 13, 2017 at 4:25 AM // Reply

    From the tone of your writing, I’d say you in a mood Mel. 😉
    As it so happens I agree completely on both counts.
    It is best to nip things like these in the bud before they sink in.
    all semi-automatics must remain a no go in Canada, lest we take a step towards the inevitable future that the U.S. now suffer.
    And if I need to learn about parking, I’ll go downtown and park.

    • It’s amazing the attitude towards firearms by some… Do you realize the amount of money the shooting sports generate in towns that hold them? That shooting sports of all types will be in the Olympics in coming years?

      Are you aware the number one weapon in Canadian violent crime/murder is an edged weapon? Do we lock up our knives? Gun owners, especially restricted, are background checked more often than you could possibly imagine and follow some of strictest storage and transportation rules anywhere.

      As for semi automatic… Why the hate for the ar15? It’s not easy to buy. The reason it is so popular in the US is because you can buy them anywhere and the background checks are far from what we do here in most states. It is restricted solely due to appearance. No other reason . It is widely used in 3 gun and IPSC competitive shooting across North America and the world. When was the last time an ar15 was used in Canada in a crime? Believe me there are lots and lots of them here but guess what…..responsible law abiding people own them.

      Make crime illegal… Stop allowing criminals to play the court systems into delays to then get off on all sorts of nefarious activity. We have a prosecution problem not a gun problem. Caught with an illegal or stolen weapon go directly to jail for ten years no argument from me but to claim semi auto firearms are somehow more dangerous than knives or opioids is a joke. I’m also not sure what an ar type firearm is…. There is only one and many other semi auto that operate very much the same made of wood that seem to be fine. The argument is oh it can be made fully automatic, well yes illegally with illegal parts illegal to import and illegal to possess. A truck at home home depot is also a lethal weapon to some but general law abiding citizens use it to get some drywall and stay off the sidewalk.

      The RCMP inspects all transfer and requires pictures of the lower receiver to ensure it is proper dimensions to prevent this anyway….but I’m probably writing this to someone who thinks ar means assault rifle…

      Do some research before you look down your nose at upwards of a million people who don’t commit crimes and should be allowed to spend their money legally on whatever they want.

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