ROTHENBURGER – ‘Beautiful hills, a beautiful view, asphalt and a downtown that’s dying’

‘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 opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8485 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 ROTHENBURGER – ‘Beautiful hills, a beautiful view, asphalt and a downtown that’s dying’

  1. 1974? Nice piece of archive stuff Mr. MR! It sure takes time to change course…at least the hills are still quite beautiful despite the knapweed…because even on that there is a lot of lip service but not a whole bunch of action. But just last week the “whole bunch of thornless roses” report from City hall came out (according to Nancy Bepple at least)…I wonder how you interpret it and I wonder if Owens would have some comments…

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