November 08, 2015 - 11:31 AM
“NOT OVERLY SURPRISED, BUT DEFINITELY DISAPPOINTED”
KAMLOOPS – About 32 per cent of the eligible voters in Kamloops have decided a performing arts centre will not be built in the city, at least, not anytime soon.
The ‘no’ side edged the ‘yes’ side by 1,668 votes.
About 54 per cent of the voters said no to the city borrowing $49 million to build the performing arts centre and parkade at the corner of Seymour Street and Fourth Avenue, the site of the former Kamloops Daily News building.
The city says there were 69,745 eligible voters, and of those, 22,294 people cast a ballot in the referendum, which means 47,451 people decided not to vote.
Kamloops mayor Peter Milobar says a great opportunity to invest in the community has been missed.
“Not overly surprised, but definitely disappointed,” Milobar says, adding there isn't a plan B.
Brenden Shaw with the YES campaign says he takes full responsibility for the negative vote, but points out there was a lot of misinformation out there.
“There were a lot of numbers thrown around,” Shaw says. “Obviously I’m disappointed. We had a team who put their blood, sweat and tears into this campaign.”
Shaw says any performing arts centre built in the future will be more costly.
Brad Alberts with the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association says the ‘no’ vote win was likely based on the proposed property tax increase to pay for a performing arts centre and parkade.
The new parkade was important for downtown businesses.
“Parking is always a key issue — 350 stalls would have gone a long ways to providing parking to businesses downtown,” Alberts says.
The proposed centre was a $90 million dollar project, with $25 million slated specifically for a parkade. The complex would have been financed with a two percent increase in property taxes starting in 2016, which translated into roughly $40 dollars, per household, per year for 20 years.
Image Credit: City of Kamloops
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— This story was updated at 7:27 a.m., Nov. 9, 2015, to correct the number of voters.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015