An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ONE OF THESE DAYS — or so I’d like to think — I’ll stand here and report that Kamloops has become a cleanly scrubbed city respected and cared for by all.
Sadly, that day isn’t coming any time soon.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I lamented the removal of the bull statue from Riverside Park due to repeated acts of vandalism. What must we do, I asked, encase public art in cages?
Well, the characters who insist on trying to ruin Kamloops have struck again, this time on the pedestrian-bicycle overpass that connects Valleyview with the downtown area.
The overpass is a vital link that lets people leave their vehicles at home and use foot and peddle power to safely get between those two parts of town.
The Valleyview Interchange Multi-Use Pathway, as it’s officially known, was opened 10 years ago. It was a big deal, planned and talked about by no fewer than four City councils. The cost ballooned from an initial estimate of $2 million to almost $6 million by the time it was finished.
While some viewed it as a frivolous waste of money, it was actually a necessity after construction of the so-called bypass that cut Valleyview in two and severed it from the rest of the city.
So, yes, that little overpass is important, something that needs to be cared for and treated with respect. Instead, the vandals have struck again, smashing half the three dozen 4X8 safety-glass panels that protect its users from the tracks below.
The damage no doubt amounts to tens of thousands of dollars.
Instead of replacing the glass panels, the City will install perforated metal panels that will stop the bad guys from busting them but will certainly detract from the appearance and do nothing to discourage the graffiti vandals. In fact, they’ll probably be even more attractive to the spray-bomb crowd.
So, those who tear down, instead of build, have won again.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
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.