ROTHENBURGER – Are the 2015 and 2020 PAC plans really ‘totally different’?

Two visions: 2020 above, 2015 below.


You’ve probably heard that line more than once from proponents of the new performing arts centre proposal, and you’ll most certainly hear it again, many times.

Those who support taking another kick at the PAC can often say this new plan is very different from the first and, therefore, worthy of being put to the voters for consideration.

There are certainly differences between the proposal defeated in 2015 and the new one, but how significant are they? Is this truly an original idea, something ratepayers haven’t seen before?

Here’s a comparison of the basics of the 2015 concept, and the one that will go to voters next year:


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 (8582 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.

8 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Are the 2015 and 2020 PAC plans really ‘totally different’?

  1. Parking issue may be overblown.
    For example, as someone already mentioned it, GM Place in downtown Vancouver doesn’t have near the parking capacity corresponding to its seating capacity and somehow it gets busy in there quite regularly.

  2. If memory serves me right, the pedestrian bridge over the CP Rail tracks at 3rd Avenue was built because someone overlooked the availability of parking space for the arena on the South Thompson River. The dog gone trains blocked pedestrian access because so many people had to park on the other side of the tracks when there was an event at the arena.
    There must be records to show how much the taxpayers had to pay for that oversight.

    The PAC might well be a good idea but I hope there won’t be an extra multi-million dollar addition that will rise from the depths because there is grossly inadequate parking space available.

  3. This keeps happening. The Arts community has to take responsibility for a PAC, not fob it off on the city. We all know what this will mean when they suddenly cry broke, and the taxpayer has to pick up the whole tab. And parking ? Why is this the city’s problem ? Every other development is required to plan for parking. Then we get to the seating. The bigger space, with only 1200 seats is still going to result in big acts by passing the city, 1200 seats is not enough. Poorly planned, no one wants to take ownership, and a fail IMHO.

  4. (Pierre I demur not being worthy of such extravagant praise) So here is something that should inspire us and maybe show the way, even if the plan differs from what we want. I am describing the Sudbury Place des Arts multipurpose centre. Construction underway in August of this year, with finish intended for 2020. Total cost is $30 million. Funding structure is secured and includes, mainly: 5.5 M from the city, 12.5 M from the federal government, 3.75 M from provincial government coffers and 3.75 million from private (corporate or personal) donations (the balance likely from other grants). The city, apparently, commits to an annual $150,000 operating subsidy. Heavens, that’s near petty cash in city mindsets! Now, how in the heck did they achieve this remarkable outcome?

  5. Proposal notwithstanding, going to referendum is arguably a mistake. A loosely organized “no” side will have an easier time polarizing discontent whereas it will take a much larger effort for the “yes” side to achieve a positive referendum result. Full transparency and inviting Mr. Frank Dwyer to the discussion’s round table (the guy is clearly a brilliant mind and an outstanding orator to boot) will be a great way forward.

  6. The ‘new’ proposal looks like the Ford version of the Mercury Grand Marquis; and a 1200 seat concert hall? Why that dates from about the same era. There are huge shifts in how people consume/experience music. What we build for the future needs to recognize five trends in performing centre architectural design. They are – convertible floors/seating and walls, audience immersion, light and video animation, social experience (in and out of the concert space) and in-house food and beverage service. In Canada look to the Mont Jacob Cultural Centre, the proposed Sudbury PAC and the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. In the states look up the Dallas Wylie, the new facility at Brown University and the Nashville Schermerhorn Concert Hall. Oh, and different would be to name the likely source of government grants from both senior levels. Let’s see big corporate donors as well as prominent figures in the Kamloops legal and medical communities step forward with their unstinting support. Build a four story above ground parkade as part of the deal and finally, name Bill Frymire as artistic design consultant for the exterior and lobby facades. Different is, well, different and exciting. It’s also surprisingly maybe, about risk avoidance. Stuffy venues are dead and flexibility is the thing.

  7. Sean McGuinness // November 9, 2019 at 9:22 AM // Reply

    Now that we know about the square footage, cost, and parking, perhaps we should also know about what will actually take place in this wonderful building. This is going to be the main problem with selling the idea, because regardless of whether it is a tax increase of $35 or $5 per taxpayer, the idea will fail if average folks don’t see its utility.

    A few marketing tips. I wouldn’t call it a “performing arts” centre. Put a name of a local luminary on the place — e.g. The “Mel Rothenburger Centre”. Secondly, emphasize “entertainment” rather than “arts” and sell the building as being multi-purpose and multi-functional in nature.

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