November 14, 2015 - 8:00 AM
It was a close vote Saturday and it took until the last poll to know definitively that voters had turned down the performing arts centre proposal, and that decision was enough to bring out some of the worst in Kamloops.
Within minutes of the ‘no’ vote being determined, some supporters of the performing arts centre took to social media to bash those who voted no.
Claims of Kamloops not being a forward-thinking or progressive community were made, those against the centre were called hicks and words like ‘idiot’ were thrown around without much regard.
Imagine if the centre did go ahead. Sure people would have a performing arts centre to attend all these amazing shows, but they would be doing so with a bunch of people who look down at and belittle their neighbours.
Based on how people are reacting I would also have to believe the Sagebrush and Pavilion Theatre, among others, will soon go out of business. They are eyesores and embarrassments, according to many of those in support of a new centre, so obviously no one would want to attend performances there at all. What do the many theatres, galleries and arts groups think of being publicly told they’re not good enough?
An interesting trend is also the number of people still asking questions about the project. I’ve honestly lost count of the number of people who were confused about project details, or who could and could not vote, or where to vote.
The information has been out there for months. The city had a website with information. The pro and anti groups had brochures, websites and Facebook pages with information. The city hosted several information sessions, as did other groups. There was NO excuse to not be informed.
Aside from the excuses, and the obvious division of the community on whether to support the performing arts centre project or not, an even bigger glaring fact remains. Kamloops once again didn’t show up at the polls.
A total of 17 per cent of eligible voters marked ‘no’ on the ballot while nearly 15 per cent marked ‘yes’. The other 47,000 people didn’t vote. Unfortunately that’s democracy at a municipal level in Canada. That’s similar to voter turnout in our civic election history, and that of many other cities. That is how our current council got elected, and that is how they’re most recent idea got shot down.
Whether people just didn’t care or couldn’t be bothered, we really have no way of knowing. We don’t know whether they would’ve voted yes or no or were just confused and honestly didn’t know which way to vote.
Either way, the minority decided. And for now, their answer is no, and we have to respect that.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015