ROTHENBURGER: Kamloops Film Society deserves a tax break from City

Murals painted on old Paramount Theatre after Film Society took over. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

RULES ARE A NECESSARY ANNOYANCE to keep civilization from collapsing into chaos and many times I speak in favour of them. But those who make the rules can’t foresee every possible situation and here’s another one: the Kamloops Film Society and its application to the City for a permissive tax exemption.

Staff will recommend to City council tomorrow that the application be rejected for two reasons: it wasn’t submitted before the deadline, and doesn’t pass the not-for-profit rule because it “could be considered competition to existing businesses, namely theatres.”

Both reasons fail the test of common sense. The application deadline for tax exemptions is May 31. The Film Society didn’t submit its application until Aug. 9.

But the society didn’t take over the old Paramount Theatre until May 1, and re-opened part-time in mid-June. So, at the time of the deadline it wasn’t operating.

As for competition with private businesses, come on. The nearest corporate-run theatre is the Odeon up the hill in Aberdeen. Not only is it a long way away, but the two don’t serve the same audience. The film society avoids blockbuster-type movies. I may be wrong but I haven’t yet seen a film society movie that was shown within a competitive timeframe at the Odeon, or shown there at all.

These are things staff might have pointed out in its report advising the Film Society application be rejected. At any rate, when council considers the recommendation, it should take into consideration that the Film Society and its landlord the Kelson Group are doing Kamloops a huge service.

They’re keeping open what otherwise might become another derelict building downtown. They’re contributing to the cultural fabric of Kamloops.

Sometimes, rules need to be flexible.

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 (8054 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 ROTHENBURGER: Kamloops Film Society deserves a tax break from City

  1. Maybe these fees impact their choices in renting the theatre out…

  2. Gisela Ruckert // September 9, 2019 at 8:52 AM // Reply


  3. I know for sure City staff does take a fairly lax approach to Bylaws enforcing depending on who you are. Certain developers and builders come to mind. So rules are already “elastic”…
    But your reasoning for a tax exemption is good. Let’s see what council does.

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