TWENTY HERITAGE HOMES will be bulldozed if a major new downtown development goes ahead, which it probably will.
The Kelson Group unveiled plans this week for a $140-million, 445-unit complex of residential towers and condos, plus up to 600 underground parking stalls, on the block between Nicola and Battle and Fourth and Fifth Avenues. To accomplish it, the old houses must go — the biggest single loss of such homes in the city’s history.
Talk of the plan has been making the rounds since early in the year but this week’s news release was the first look at details. It’s being greeted with enthusiasm by the business community and civic politicians.
Whether or not you cheer the project or mourn the loss of even more heritage buildings depends on your point of view. The project is new and fresh and will densify the downtown area, and densification is much favoured by planners as we try to make cities more walkable and cheaper to service.
On the other hand, there are all those old houses, most built more than a hundred years ago.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, 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.