An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WESTERN CANADA THEATRE is trying to put the best possible face on the shutdown of Sagebrush Theatre for roof repairs, characterizing the massive reshuffling of productions to other venues as some sort of grand adventure.
I admire their stiff-upper-lip approach but, in reality, it’s no fun.
There’s no word on how long the Sagebrush will be closed — out of an abundance of caution — while a cracked roof truss is looked after, but it will be awhile. In the meantime, everything must be rescheduled and re-homed.
The Buddy Holly Story, expected to be a sellout, has hastily been moved to the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre theatre. That theatre holds only 450 compared to the 700 at Sagebrush, so it’s no easy job.
In March, the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra has concerts scheduled, and there are several other events on the calendar as the weeks and months progress.
This brings up asset management, which civic governments are somewhat belatedly beginning to focus on. Public buildings should last for 100 or 200 years or more, not 40 or 50, but they do need to eventually be replaced.
With repairs and upgrades the Sagebrush can serve for quite awhile yet but it clearly isn’t sufficient for the expanding needs of the community.
As former councilor and now columnist Nancy Bepple wrote after the recent water-main breaks, keeping budget increases to unrealistically low levels can come back to bite. Eventually, new investment in infrastructure must be made, and we can pay now or pay more later.
This issue with the Sagebrush once again raises the question of a new performing arts centre. Public discussion has gone mute since it was presented to City council a few weeks ago.
Time to rev up some PAC talk again.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.