October 08, 2015 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – With less than a month before a referendum decides the fate of a proposed downtown performing arts centre, one business association looks to answer resident’s remaining questions.
The Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association held an information session this afternoon, Oct. 8, at the Rex on Seymour and will be hosting another this evening between 4 and 6:30. The Association has joined a coalition of Kamloops businesses and cultural groups who support building a performing arts centre.
Board member Brad Alberts says most people he talked to have been quite receptive or open to the idea of performing arts centre.
“I found with a lot of the individuals who’ve spoken with me it was very simple to just give them information and once they had the information they did come on side,” he says.
Board member Michael Popoff agrees with Alberts adding, “we’re not here to twist anybody’s arm, we’re here to basically provide the information, and provide clarification and give them some things to think about.”
Bonnie Klohn, who works and lives downtown, came to the information session because she was interested in the plans for the performing arts centre. Admittedly, she is already a ‘yes’ as she would like to see arts and culture as a focal point of the next city project.
“I’m hopeful there will be a lot more vibrancy downtown, a lot more people, a lot more activities, more stuff to do at night,” she says.
City of Kamloops social and community development supervisor Carmin Mazzota says 50 to 70 people showed up this afternoon and he expects at least double that tonight. The city’s goals today were to encourage voter turnout for the referendum and to try to make the information available as clear and factual as possible, he says.
While he couldn’t boil it down to one predominant concern, Mazzota says a lot of questions he receives revolve around the economics of the project and what it means to taxpayers.
“People are curious about the numbers from the business case, so just trying to clarify that,” he says.
The referendum will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7. Residents will be asked if they are in favour of taking on roughly $49 million worth of debt to finance the construction of a performing arts centre. The actual referendum is expected to cost $160,000.
The centre would be built on the site of the former Kamloops Daily News on Seymour Street and is expected to cost $90 million, with $25 million of that slated for a parkade.
It will be financed through a one percent increase in property taxes in 2016 and an additional one per cent in 2017, which translates into roughly $40 dollars per household per year for 20 years.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015