September 17, 2015 - 12:53 PM
KAMLOOPS - With less than two months to go before a referendum vote, a group of local business leaders and associations are hoping to convince you to vote 'yes' for the proposed performing arts centre in Kamloops.
A group of downtown associations and cultural groups launched what they call the YES campaign today, Sept. 17. The campaign encourages residents to vote for a performing arts centre in a referendum scheduled for Nov. 7.
Mayor Peter Milobar and Councillors Tina Lange, Ken Christian and Pat Wallace were all in attendance. Milobar says city councillors support the centre and that many, including himself, ran with the centre as part of their election platforms.
“(The performing arts centre) will not only have a positive economic impact on our community, but it will enhance many social aspects here as well,” realtor Brendan Shaw, who is leading the YES campaign, says.
Shaw is joined on the committee by members of the Kamloops Arts Gallery, Kamloops Film Society, Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, Western Canada Theatre Company, Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association and the Kamloops Arts Council.
Along with these groups, Tourism Kamloops and even the Kamloops Sports Council have lent their support to the campaign.
While there is not currently a 'no' campaign, Milobar encouraged those opposed or just unsure to understand the facts before they vote on a Nov. 7.
“I can understand skepticism when to comes to government projects and things like that but I challenge them to take a good hard look at the projects in Kamloops at the time thought of to be too large or aggressive at the time… those projects had similar sentiment from the community and I would suggest that we’re a much better place for all of them.”
Barbara Berger, the city's Arts, Culture and Heritage Manager, says she doesn’t believe there is strong opposition to the performing arts centre. She says residents have a lot of questions, but mostly just want to understand the costs and the need for such a building.
“People just want to be informed voters and boy, that’s awesome.”
The referendum will determine whether or not residents are in favour of the city taking on $49 million in debt to fund the centre, which is set to take over the former Kamloops Daily News building on Seymour Street. The debt would cost the average household roughly $40 in additional property taxes per year.
The business case for the proposed arts centre, expected to cost $91 million, was released this past week.
A debate on the performing arts centre will be held Sept. 26 at Thompson Rivers University to help answer questions and stimulate discussion around the proposed project.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015