ROTHENBURGER – Back alleys could be people places if we gave them a chance

Kamloops back alley between 3rd and 4th Avenues. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

THE BACK ALLEYS of Kamloops aren’t anywhere you want to spend a lot of time in. They’re stark, grungy places with busted up concrete, graffiti vandalism everywhere, utility pipes and meters sticking out of the ground and cars and pickups shoe-horned into each available nook and corner.

One imagines muggers leaping out from behind every dumpster. Indeed, when we think of back alleys we think of prostitutes, drug dealers, petty thieves, bootleggers and all manner of shifty characters.

The alleys are, quite literally, the backside of Kamloops, the rear end of commerce, and the general attitude towards them is that they’re best left hidden. In their current state, that’s probably not a bad way of looking at it.

Attempts have been made in recent years to put lipstick on them in the form of murals and they’ve helped, but they’re just that — lipstick. The murals haven’t always deterred the graffiti vandals, and a project that began a couple of years ago to turn dumpsters into artistic canvasses appears to have stalled.

In short, back alleys get no respect.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9641 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.

1 Comment on ROTHENBURGER – Back alleys could be people places if we gave them a chance

  1. Great idea; the back allies of European cities become a commercial fringe, where the more exotic, artistic and independent businesses can thrive.

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