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STAHN: More questions should be asked before we vote on the performing arts centre

October 25, 2015 - 9:21 AM

When it comes to referendums the city has a stake in the outcome. Council has already decided a project should go ahead and is lobbying the taxpayers to agree. Council, and therefore city staff, are essentially asking the public to agree with them, to sign the deal and move forward.

And just like any contract, you are obligated to read over the fine print and ask questions first.

That’s why I'm surprised it’s taken this long for someone to formally step forward to question the proposal for a performing arts centre. There’s been a lot of chatter on social media, including on the Kamloops Facebook page, about it being too expensive or about there not being enough details. But unlike the groups that have come together to readily support the proposed $90-million project there hasn’t been a group of people willing to step up and question the project.

Former city councillor Nelly Dever, who questioned the purchase of the former Kamloops Daily News property from the start, is the spokesperson for the ‘PAC Not Yet’ group.

While the ‘YES’ group is unequivocally for the performing arts centre and the $49 million taxpayer-backed debt that comes with it, the ‘PAC Not Yet’ group wants more details. A lack of funding from the private sector and other levels of government is a concern for the group, as is the number of unanswered questions.

Even though advance voting begins in just a few days (Oct. 28) I am glad this group has stepped forward to actually open up the debate. Our city has a history of too-low voter turnout in civic elections, between 28 and 33 per cent in the last several elections, and less than a third of people making decisions on behalf of the entire community is simply not acceptable.

Hopefully an actual debate, with more than one side being presented to the public, will lead to more engagement and make this performing arts centre, whether it moves forward or not, truly a community project.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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