‘IN KAMLOOPS, YOU GET IN YOUR CAR, you go to Chapters, there’s four acres of asphalt, then you get in your car and you drive to Overwaitea, because that’s two blocks down. There’s Burger King, A&W, the big box retailers, and so on, scattered all over the bloody place. Beautiful hills, a beautiful view, asphalt, independently built concrete buildings that aren’t connected in any way for pedestrians or public transit and a downtown that’s dying.”
That was how then-Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen saw Kamloops 20 years ago when he spent a night here during a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer. Though he and I got along well, I was cheesed off about it at the time.
I wonder what Philip Owen would think of Kamloops today. I’m pretty sure he’d appreciate the improvements. As I wrote last week, big ideas have come and gone, but some things have stuck.
As I was doing some research on another matter this week, I came across KamPlan 1974, the city’s very first official community plan.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.