EDITORIAL – Spending millions on fun and games is necessary, not frivolous


An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

SPENDING $13.5 MILLION on the Tournament Capital Center might not be the best thing to talk about right now but apparently it’s in need of a redo. Maintenance, revitalization and modernization, they call it.

There’s a long to-do list at the pool, everything from mechanical and electrical systems to change rooms and a new entrance. Much of it would come from grants and reserves but it’s all money.

This, on top of a major facelift on the track and talk of a future dome for winter use. And, in just a couple of months, taxpayers will be asked to approve a $45-million debt for a performing arts centre.

It’s important to keep in mind that, while we think of the TCC as a relatively new facility, the Canada Games Aquatic Centre is much older, closing in on 30 years of age.

But Kamloops taxpayers may be forgiven if they’re starting to feel nervous. Hasn’t the City been saying the TCC is almost paid for, after all?

The inevitable buzz about the need to take care of basics first is already well underway: homelessness, drug addictions, pot holes, sewers, policing.

“We can’t afford a single cent more!” they cry. “Forget the frivolous projects.”

I’m of a different view when it comes to bricks and mortar. Imagine Kamloops without the TCC, the McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre, Riverside Park, the art gallery, the Sagebrush Theatre, the trail system, ball diamonds and swimming pools.
Erasing these amenities may or may not address some key social issues, but who would want to live here?

A healthy community needs to take care of fundamentals but it also has to leave room for some fun and games. It’s called work-life balance, and it’s essential, not frivolous.

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 (8041 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.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Spending millions on fun and games is necessary, not frivolous

  1. Meditation and a walk in the woods is much more therapeutic, that’s scientifically proven. The only question I have is, will someone competent supervise all the work until the renovations are completed?

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