ROTHENBURGER – Vision: sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t

Artist’s rendering of Kamloops Public Market at Riverside Park. (Image:

ONE OF THE TOUGHEST QUESTIONS we ask our politicians is, “What is your vision for Kamloops?”

More often than not, the response has something to do with a clean, safe city with good amenities and well-paying jobs. When was the last time a politician said, “I really think we need more street crime, litter and graffiti, and we should bring in more minimum-wage employment and close down some parks”?

The real test of vision, though, comes in the details.

Elected leaders and residents alike are asked from time to time to put their money where their vision is. Sometimes they pass the test, sometimes they fail. Sometimes, too, vision is as much about saying no to something as saying yes.

The proposed farmer’s market building at the entrance to Riverside Park is one such vision that divides people. An informal survey was released this week on what people think about it and I’ll get to that in a minute.


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 (7056 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.

4 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Vision: sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t

  1. Precisely Bob. You have summed it all up. We mustn’t blame the city planners as so often it is the higher-ups, and politics, who disrupt the best intentions. At the time of all the uproar around the grandiose tower, once proposed for the waterfront – well, in the water on piers (My gosh, would that have disrupted the views and access) – I did some digging into the history of the park lands. The interconnecting piece your refer to once held a warehouse. It was donated to the city for the express purpose of linking the parks. Heritage House too is a gift – a significant community asset and much valued. Imagine, hiding it away behind all that concrete. But I digress, you are right on the mark.

  2. Sometime the problem isn’t the lack of vision but rather a lack of commitment to the vision. You mentioned the Sandman hotel property. I recall when the City first starting looking at it. The vision was for development that included parking, retail space and in part some type of social housing. Along came the $ and out went the vision.

    We also have a master plan for city parks. The master plan was completed some time around 2014. The community was invited to assist in the study and I took part in the group sessions. The overall master plan was followed with a more specific plan for the Riverside Park, Pioneer Park and the connecting space in between. (The connecting space has a title but I can’t recall it offhand.) Now we have a “mall-in-the-park” group. Not a beep from City Hall on the need to adhere to the vision for the Parks, a vision developed in concert with the public.

    As a friend of Riverside Park I hope before this mall idea goes to far, the City takes the time to publicly defend the vision we have for our parks. Our “visions” seem to last as long as it takes for the ink to dry .

  3. Sean McGuinness // January 19, 2019 at 6:34 PM // Reply

    Really interesting column. There is a lot I didn’t know about this city. The “vision” thing is tricky. I think when one makes decisions on what to build, “utility” is important (and I’m not talking about parking lots). Questions like, “how is the ordinary citizen going to benefit from this?” are important. McArthur island was a good call because many people ended up using it, and the same applies to the TTC. For me, I’m not sure how much use the common man in Kamloops will find in a PAC. But here, details are important. Eg. what kinds of events will be hosted, and to what extent “performing arts” will translate into things a wide range of people will enjoy and be able to afford. The market idea sounds nice, but how many people are going to use it?

  4. The moral of the story is…buy up all the KGHM claims and turn them into a mega nature park with provisions for making it into a beautiful destination for off-road cycling. A locally driven and varied economic vision providing ample opportunities for local entrepreneurial activities with a strong environmental consciousness. The rest will follow.

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