ROTHENBURGER – Maybe Kamloops should leave arts and culture to Vernon

Artist’s conception of new art gallery-museum in Vernon. (Image: Regional District of North Okanagan)

VERNON HAS SHOWN Kamloops how it’s done. Again.

Last Saturday, Vernon residents voted to build themselves a $40-million multi-purpose cultural facility downtown. Of that, $25 million will be borrowed, the rest coming from grants, donations and “partnerships.”

The storyline is familiar. While Kamloops already has a very good art gallery, it needs a new concert hall, commonly referred to in these parts as a PAC (performing arts centre). Vernon already has a PAC but needs a new home for its art gallery and museum, which are currently in two different, aging buildings.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6691 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.

6 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Maybe Kamloops should leave arts and culture to Vernon

  1. Ken McClelland // October 27, 2018 at 8:49 AM // Reply

    I voted in favour of the PAC, and would do so again. A modest tax increase in return for a new facility is a reasonable proposition. Seems that is what we got with the Tournament Capital referendum a while back. Our taxes seem to go up every year just to maintain status quo, it would be great to see some actual and tangible benefit. And it would certainly be better than what we ended up with at 4th and Seymour. Involving the region makes sense too, as a PAC or whatever it gets called won’t only be for the citizens of Kamloops.

  2. I think our PAC was going to cost a lot more than 40 million.

    • Mel Rothenburger // October 27, 2018 at 9:44 AM // Reply

      The Kamloops project included a parkade, which was a large part of the cost. The Vernon service area has about half the population of Kamloops. The Kamloops PAC would have cost the average homeowner less than what Vernon taxpayers are willing to pay for theirs.

  3. We should drop all the cliche’ and call it “entertainment” not “arts and culture”…because arts and culture can be had without adding taxes and there are already plentiful of opportunities for both arts and culture.

    • Seriously ? Our PAC was costed out at over 90 million to be borrowed. Do you really want me to believe that the parkade part of that was 50 million ?

      • Mel Rothenburger // October 27, 2018 at 12:30 PM //

        Actually, the referendum question was on borrowing up to $49 million. The rest was to come from reserves, grants and donations. The key number is $38 per household.

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