ROTHENBURGER – The Armchair strikes back on Columbia West housing issue

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

‘SO PRAY TELL US MEL, what neighbourhood would be good for social housing? Let me guess… the North Shore right?”

That’s what Gail Paton thought of my editorial this week in which I contended that the hotel-motel row on Columbia Street West is the wrong place for social housing.

“Ah, NIMBY,” commented Adina Anne. “That same tired, bigoted, pointless argument from a pointless old man. Shocking.”

As is your prejudice against senior citizens, ma’am. But these two comments, which were among dozens in reaction to the column, sum up a couple of common threads. One is that any suggestion that Columbia Street West is the wrong place for social housing must by NIMBYism.

The other is that because the North Shore has received so much social housing, it’s about time the South Shore got more, too. Presumably, Columbia Street West is just fine.

I concluded quite a while ago that some people read opinion pieces without really reading them.


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 – The Armchair strikes back on Columbia West housing issue

  1. Molly-beth Wilson // October 31, 2020 at 12:30 PM // Reply

    Suggesting that Columbia St W is not a place for “social” housing, is in itself tone deaf as hell!
    The simple fact is the hotels are willing to offer a monthly rate due to the Covid experience and a HUGELY ABYSMAL LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, NOT “SOCIAL” HOUSING.
    A huge amount of folks are dealing with need of lower housing costs due to the up surge in Covid numbers, also there are students who live in those units.
    Naming the hotel owners business as a “nuisance location ” is stigmatizing and nothing short of blaming a business for the primary issue of unaffordable housing. They are no different than any other areas in our city, if a shooting and domestic abuse situation happened in a neighborhood ,say Westsyde would they blame the neighborhood?
    I’ve lived in Kamloops and the North Shore gets it fair share of stigma, saying all lower income housing belong in a certain area is ghettoizing those on lower income.
    Every neighborhood needs affordable housing, then folks see each other as human, not a “social” problem for the NIMBY set of folks in town.

    • Mel Rothenburger // October 31, 2020 at 12:37 PM // Reply

      Social housing is basically housing that is made available at low cost. Social housing, subsidized housing, public housing and affordable housing tend to be used interchangeably, though one can argue the differences.

  2. Maybe the first op piece should’ve read like the second one, just a little more eloquent. But upon a second reading the second one essentially ain’t much better.
    Funny how whatever the “experts” says isn’t what’s being currently built. Perhaps an editorial calling for serious (local) leadership on the issue should be forthcoming. For sure there is money being thrown around, for example the building raising on the old Maverick hotel property. An isolated property very near the Trans Canada Highway. Can you imagine having to live there?
    Regardless of all that I commend the Armchair mayor for “stirring it up” unlike any of the other for-profit local news sites.

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