May 26, 2014 - 12:54 PM
KAMLOOPS - It looks like the city is ready to move forward with the purchase of the empty Kamloops Daily News property.
In March only 39 city electors returned responses against the loan of $4.8 million required to buy the property. At the time Mayor Peter Milobar said the site was considered a necessary purchase to secure parking in the downtown core. The city will also look at possible options for the building which could include a performing arts centre, civic building or parkade, or a combination of.
Most of council agreed to put the loan through the alternative approval process, giving the public a chance to weigh-in their concerns. The loan cannot go forward if 10 per cent (6,841) of electors sign forms opposing the deal. Only 39 electors filed responses by the May 16 cut off date.
Coun. Nelly Dever was the lone council member to stand against the loan in March, saying she would rather wait for a better deal and that $4.8 million just to secure 120 surface parking stalls was too steep.
“At an investment of $6 million plus, I think we can do better, a lot better. Patience is still warranted,” she says. “Is the city the right entity to act as owner-developer of this property?”
As it stands the loan will be funded through parking revenues and money earmarked for downtown parking infrastructure though if the use changes down the road the funding would have to as well. Council is set to approve the loan at a regular meeting Tuesday and the sale is expected to be completed by the end of August.
It could easily be at least two years before the city knows for sure what will be done with the building and any changes to surface parking will probably be a few years away as well. In the meantime the city will likely run the surface parking lot as it does other city-owned lots.
The property includes the large building at the corner of 4 Avenue and Seymour Street as well as a large surface parking lot to the south.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014