EDITORIAL – How much money is being wasted on Victoria Street West project?

Artist’s conception of Victoria Street West project. (Image: City of Kamloops)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

GET READY TO PRACTICE your zipper merge.

Remember 2015, when the Overlanders Bridge was being rehabilitated and we spent eight months fighting traffic as the daily commute from North Shore to South and vice versa became a hurry-up-and-wait exercise?

That was nothing compared to what’s in store beginning in April, when work will start on revamping Victoria Street West and continue until the fall of 2020. Though we’ve known about it since last year, details have been somewhat sketchy until now — the cost is now confirmed at $13 million compared to $10 million for the bridge.

At first it was expected two lanes would be open at all times; now it could be down to one.

When the bridge was being rehabbed, the City undertook a major and mostly successful information campaign to keep residents up to speed on progress, as well as traffic flow on the bridge.

West Victoria will present an even bigger challenge, given the impact not only on traffic but on businesses along the street. The co-operation and patience of all concerned will be required to keep us all from going stark raving nuts.  So brush up on your zipper merge techniques.

But something about the project puzzles me. Between the bridge and the Seymour Street West intersection, it will include beautification, pedestrian safety upgrades, and replacement of aging infrastructure.

The City assures us of the need for it because water, sanitary and storm services there date back to the early 1900s. That being the case, why wasn’t that taken care of during a major reconstruction on that same stretch back in the 1990s?

I wonder how much money is being wasted because City Hall didn’t have the foresight to get the job done back then.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at


About Mel Rothenburger (8170 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.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – How much money is being wasted on Victoria Street West project?

  1. You were a mayor, seems kind of disingenuous to discuss topics like you “know better” but you don’t address why weren’t they tackled during your administration? Are you saying that the statement “The City assures us of the need for it because water, sanitary and storm services there date back to the early 1900s…” is not true or partially true? What are you saying?
    I honestly have no political inclination, I want Kamloops to be a nicer city (without breaking the piggy bank and $13M is reasonable) so I say yes to this project unless you provide some valid reasons why not.
    An honestly Mr. (ex)Mayor, your column is like a grandpa sitting at his armchair reminiscing about the old ways and criticizing everyone that tries to do things in a way that you disagree with, it is exhausting and I am never reading one of your columns, ever again. Peace

    • Mel Rothenburger // March 12, 2019 at 10:35 PM // Reply

      I guess I wasn’t clear (you can only say so much in 290 words) so I’ll explain it this way. The editorial doesn’t say I oppose the upcoming project. In fact, I’m in favour of it. The point I’m making is that if the City had a good asset management plan it might have avoided a lot of the cost of the project because it would have been aware at the time of the 1990s reconstruction that pipes from the 1900s era would need to be replaced and it could have been done then, in 1990s dollars. The City wouldn’t have to dig up a major street, with all the attendant inconvenience and cost, two or three times. I was not mayor until after the last rehab was done, by the way.

  2. We need councillors who understand how to get things done properly and willing to challenge distorted conventional thinking. We never had anyone capable of that.
    But 13 millions will not cover it…watch for costs overruns!

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