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A new Performing Arts Centre comes with a huge cost

Mayor Peter Milobar addressing the crowd at the preliminary business case for a new performing arts centre.
April 10, 2015 - 10:57 AM

KAMLOOPS - When outlining the city's plans for a new performing arts centre, Mayor Peter Milobar asked residents to consider the importance of landmark buildings in their community. You might also want to consider their plan will cost $90 million dollars.

Milobar and other city officials unveiled their preliminary business plan for the performing arts centre at the Interior Savings Centre last night to an audience of almost 200 people. According to a report by MHPM Project Management Company, the most ideal location for a performing arts centre is the former Kamloops Daily News building on Seymour Street. Including a large parkade, it would cost just over $90 million and push the city roughly $49 million into debt.

From the feedback the city received at an open house in 2013, the city learned it was important to residents to create a cultural sector. They identified the most important priorities for such a space as ample parking, proximity to hotels, restaurants and other amenities and accessibility by transit.

The MHPM report showed the city is badly in need of such a facility; Interior Savings Centre is about the only building in town that can accommodate more than 1,000 people. They considered sites at Thompson Rivers University, within Hotel 540, and the former Daily News building, with the unused lot at 333 Seymour St. being the preferred location.

Proposed site on 333 Seymour St. former Daily News Building
Proposed site on 333 Seymour St. former Daily News Building

City officials outlined a four-year funding strategy, from 2016 through 2020. They plan to increase property taxes by one per cent in 2016, then another one per cent in 2017. They would then use net revenue from on-street parking, and obtain money from Gaming and other revenues. That adds up to $25.5 million. The city would also kick in $10 million in grants and cover $6 million for procurement and preparation, leaving another $48.7 million in debt in 2020.

Coun. Tina Lange said when broken down, the performing arts centre would amount to roughly ten cents per day for Kamloops taxpayers. She said the city also considering other options to raise money through the building, including renting space.

Byron McCorkell, recreation director, said a performing arts centre would be “part of the fabric” of a healthy, vibrant community.

Bryan Pilbeam, general manager of Hotel 540, issued a release today accepting that his location was not chosen. He said his establishment “respects the process.”

Thompson Rivers University Professor Derek Cook wasn't so gracious. He said he felt the university was not given a fair assessment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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