EDITORIAL – ‘Big Moves’ Downtown Plan a mixed bag of old and new ideas

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE ALMOST FINISHED DOWNTOWN CENTRE PLAN goes in front of City council today for a look and it includes plenty to think about.

If you don’t have the fortitude to absorb all 143 pages plus appendices, skip past the annoying jargon such as “precincts” and “housing stock” and on down to the “Big Moves” section starting on page 84.

The most interesting stuff has to do with the downtown core.

For example, planners refuse to let go of the 4th Avenue plaza idea.


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

About Mel Rothenburger (7953 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 EDITORIAL – ‘Big Moves’ Downtown Plan a mixed bag of old and new ideas

  1. That sentence should have been, “if it will be so, let’s get it right.” The way I see it, City staffers will likely approve the plan. Council will then vote, presumably, to back the downtown concept and also the PAC plan. This could all unfold quickly. They can move to borrow the 45 million, without a referendum, and thus trigger the opportunity for a counter-petition. Well, good luck to any group trying to mount a counter-petition in January freezing weather. To be succinct, why spend all the time, money and angst to build a white elephant. I’m all for a genuine public consultation process, and for building something that will have wide support.

  2. The indestructible performing arts centre continues to be a centerpiece of the imagined downtown, so let’s it will be so let’s get it right. Here’s an upfront admission: I am a paid up member of the society advocating for it. I am also a believer that we need better arts facilities in our town. We need though to build the right thing, and we need to sell it well. Shake our heads; the days of huge formal concert halls and codified ritual behaviour at symphonic concert venues are ending. Anyone who believes otherwise – clinging to old notions – should search on-line for “Five Trends In Performing Arts Center Architectural Design.” The current design is a nineteen nineties concept – twenty years too late. Facilities for the new audience will be more immersive, flexible and with the audience closer to and almost embracing the musicians. Even the black box theater concept is fading. Dance – (how hot is that for streamed and cable entertainment) – will be prominent. I see nothing much for dance in the current model. As for selling it, we need to engage the entire community in creating something that involves all of us. That means the family living way out in Brock – or Raleigh – that has a daughter and son (its 2020 folks) eager to dance. How about free bus transit for them on a Saturday when they can dance in one of the two flexible dance rehearsal spaces, right down town. We need a mayor and council who will champion the idea and speak out, boldly. In contemplating a design, we need to ask everyone what will excite and involve her or him. We need too to be transparent, forthright in discussing the elephant parking problem downtown. Above all, we need to avoid trying to win and get it built by rushing it through and being less than open to debate. We need to stop denigrating opponents. Yes, this should be a place for the Walmart crowd (I’ve heard that expression from proponents). We had darn well better involve ordinary folks, because there are sure a lot of them, and also welcome the so-called elites (pronounced with equal derision). What we create needs to be centrepiece where we all celebrate the arts and it needs to be built for the next generation. And, boldly said here (I’m retired and on a modest fixed income), I would accept somewhat higher taxes to see it happen, with some belt tightening – come on 14 full-time equivalent employees – and real solutions to the downtown car issue in Kamloops. Park the illusions. (The grandiose artists conception is another mirage). Yes, lets do it – but do it right.

  3. Yes to “earth tones” as in the Mediterranean interpretation.
    But how can a “grey” council decide on that?

  4. So much for the open drug use and related problems for the business owners along the Tranquille Road corridor.

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