ROTHENBURGER – City Gardens housing project presents a Hobson’s Choice

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

About Mel Rothenburger (9052 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.

3 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – City Gardens housing project presents a Hobson’s Choice

  1. Gentrification has costs as well as benefits. This is about more than the loss of heritage homes, appealing as they may be. The character of the downtown will change and many will be shut out of living there as costs rise, fueled by upscale high-rise living and pricey apartments. As well, Kamloops has a small footprint of a downtown with access limited by water and by geography. We should look to at the downsides of packing ever more people into the centre. Neighbourhood character, funky off beat shops and low -income housing will all suffer. Sure, it will be great for investors and the well to do. Let’s hope they all pay for the glittering arts centre long envisioned as the jewel at the heart of a thriving downtown. Thriving for who whose benefit? That is the question.

  2. Where I diverge from your reasoning is; “But heritage buildings will always lose out to progress”. Bulldozing our past isn’t my idea of progress.

    Bob Gamble

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