September 08, 2015 - 9:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A referendum is just around the corner and Kamloops residents will get to have their say on the city’s purposed performing arts centre beforehand as well.
Hosted by the Kamloops Voters Society and moderated by university lecturer John O'Fee, a debate on the performing arts centre will take place Sept. 26 from 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Thompson Rivers Unviversity International Building Room 1015.
O’Fee says the debate is meant to discuss the performing arts centre and ask specifically where the community is going in an arts and culture way.
As moderator, O’Fee says the debate will be dictated by those who attend but he will pose questions he believes are legitimate.
“It’s the same old saw we've heard before: the tax payers can't afford it,” he says of the performing arts centre.
O’Fee lists several Kamloops capital investments — the Tournament Capital Centre, the Sandman Centre (formerly the Interior Savings Centre), the water treatment plant — that faced heavy opposition that are now embraced.
“We do not have a legacy of projects as abject failures. We have a legacy of successes not failures.”
O’Fee encourages interested people to come to the event and promises all points of view are welcome.
“It’s not supposed to be ra, ra pro or con. It’s what’s best for the community,” he says.
The purposed performing arts centre, slated for the site of the former Kamloops Daily News building on Seymour Street, was unveiled April 9 at an estimated price tag of $90 million, with $25 million of the project coming from the construction of an accompanying parkade.
The centre’s funding strategy will see resident’s taxes rise one per cent in 2016, and an additional one per cent in 2017. This increase translates into $40 dollars of additional municipal taxes per household annually for 20 years.
The upcoming referendum on Nov. 7 will ask residents if they are in favour of taking on $49 million worth of debt to build the centre. The referendum itself is expected to cost $160,000.
Culture Days, taking place Sept. 25 to 27, is an annual three-day national event held each September. The event is dedicated to providing Canadians with opportunities to participate in, and appreciate, all forms of arts and culture. Several other events will be taking place around the city as part of Culture Days as well.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015