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EDITORIAL – Getting a PAC requires more guts than some candidates had

Nanaimo’s Port Theatre. (Image: porttheatre.com)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ONE OF THE DISAPPOINTING THINGS about the platforms offered by some of the civic election candidates in the now-finished campaign was their position on funding for the proposed performing arts centre.

A  questionnaire to candidates from the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society included this question: “Do you believe the City should be one of the primary funders of this project?”

Most said yes but a number said “No,” others said “No” with an explanation, and still others said “Yes” but may as well have said “No.”

Reasons for rejecting the notion of City taxpayers paying a substantial piece of the cost included a belief that government grants or private fundraising should pay for most of it.

One candidate suggested “innovative funding” should be explored, without offering any ideas on what that would entail. Another answered “Yes” but offered the contradictory opinion that the biggest financial contribution should come from “external sources.”

In other words, a PAC is fine as long as somebody else pays for it. When a politician talks like that, fails to commit, it’s a sure sign they’re afraid for their own political skins.

There’s no way the PAC will ever get built without City taxpayers being a primary funder. Certainly, substantial provincial-federal funding is likely, and so is fundraising but if taxpayers aren’t willing to step up, it’s not worth doing.

The original vision for the project has already been downgraded once. After its first defeat at referendum, proponents decided to cut parking out of it for the second referendum that didn’t happen due to COVID.

Eliminating parking or pulling back on the concept certainly brings down the cost and, therefore, might gain it some public support, but it’s simply a very bad idea. Shaving and saving pennies is a mistake.

Put something to the public that the community can be proud of. Yes, there will be tax implications but do it right, or don’t do it.

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 mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (9224 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca 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 ArmchairMayor.ca 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.

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