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 ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.