LETTER – We support the performing arts centre but our voices are not heard

A true Performing Arts Centre [PAC] for Kamloops and area is not just a great idea, it’s what I consider to be an essential part of the public infrastructure Kamloops must have if we want to be considered as a desirable place to live, work, play and invest!

If we want to attract new business and industry, entrepreneurs, professionals [can you say more doctors and nurses] and skilled workers across all spectrums of our economy, we need to be able to sell our city as a place with many lifestyle options. Just ask people in business how hard it can be to recruit and retain good employees these days.

As for those who complain that they don’t benefit and don’t want to pay more taxes, they need to realize that a modern PAC generates economic activity. Even if they were never to set foot in the facility, I believe that a Performing Arts Centre – which, incidentally, is about much more than just WCTC and the KSO – could ultimately bring an economic benefit to everyone living here in some way.

Even better, if the City of Kamloops is able to borrow the needed funds without any increase in budget resources [i.e. taxes] because other debt is being retired and can be transferred, then it’s a win for everyone.

However, while I would love to cast my ballot in support of the PAC come April, regrettably I cannot. Why? Because technically I do not live in Kamloops, and neither do thousands of other individuals who either call Kamloops their home or see it as their closest resource.

We live in the growing residential community of Sun Rivers; while indirectly our taxes do make their way to support city services (I do not know that actual numbers) our voices in support of this initiative will not be heard because we are not allowed to vote in a city referendum.

The same is true for thousands of others who live in communities west, east, north and south of our city, and come here regularly to shop, access health care, legal  and many other services, and make use of our arenas and aquatics centres, parks, fields and other public facilities.

People in Cherry Creek and Savona, Logan Lake and Merritt, Barriere, Falkland, Chase and Salmon Arm – all within about an hour from Kamloops – would also benefit from a PAC but their voices will not be heard either.

To those who say they don’t support this initiative, I would strongly urge them to look at the big picture. It could be there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

To those who do support it, and can actually vote, I strongly urge them to get out and make that known by voting in favour, because a silent majority means losing – again.


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.

2 Comments on LETTER – We support the performing arts centre but our voices are not heard

  1. L Dawne Taylor // November 24, 2019 at 3:45 PM // Reply

    I also live in Sun Rivers and definitely support the PAC. But unfortunately my voice counts for nothing because I cannot vote in the referendum. In the last referendum, I wrote to the TIB, the TNRD and the City of Kamloops expressing my displeasure and disappointment with the Municipal Act which permits voting only by those who live within the boundaries of the municipality. Even if we can’t vote, I urge the City to hold a gathering with those from “outside” the city to ascertain our interests and desires. And for those of you who can vote, please vote “yes”. This city definitely needs a good PAC befitting our location with a university, TCC, theatre, symphony, arena – all of which are important and indeed essential in maintaining a quality place to live and in attracting new people and businesses.

  2. Josh & Teresa, yours is likely not a unique opinion.

    When I suggested to a City councillor that a new PAC(C) (performing arts & cultural centre) should be built on land across the South Thompson River, I could almost feel the chill from the expensive taxpayer-funded mobile device through his reply.
    It went something to the effect that taxpayers would not want their money spent on something built on First Nations land ………..

    My reply was that the Indian Act does not have to be in print as it is written onto people’s hearts.

    A joint venture to be inclusive with the Indigenous culture and the “City” culture (made up of immigrants both past and present) could serve everyone for the next 99 years. Then, extend the lease. Share the expenses and the benefits. Be a showcase for tourism; yes, we do have a world class train tour that happens to have Kamloops as a major centre on its route. Doesn’t anybody else think that hundreds of people visiting every year from other countries wouldn’t want to spend time visiting an arts and cultural centre?

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