The release of the report on the proposed performing arts centre in Kamloops means the residents of Kamloops must now decide if they want the proposed $90-million facility.
The site would include a 1,500-seat theatre, a 300-seat black box facility as well as parking and amenities such as meeting rooms, retail, food and beverages. The city is proposing to build it at the old Kamloops Daily News site, at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Seymour Street.
There are many reasons why Kamloops should build a performing arts centre at that site. The current Sagebrush Theatre is maxed out. There are shows which would like to use it but can’t. Having a black box facility gives the flexibility of hosting a range of events from small conferences, to cabarets, to conventional small theatre productions.
The location is very accessible by car, transit, bike and walking. For the large number of seniors living in the downtown core and people who rely on public transit, it would be far, far easier to access than the current Sagebrush Theatre.
For me the most important reason to support building the performing arts centre in the downtown is that, if built, it will become an important part of a vibrant downtown.
Vibrant downtowns help to build community. Events which draw people together, whether sports like the Blazers, car shows like Hot Nites in the City, festivals like Ribfest, or the proposed performing arts centre, make our community stronger.
A vibrant downtown has diverse restaurants and bars which would service the patrons of the centre. Even more, these same restaurants are available for downtown workers and shoppers, people going out on the town, and tourists. Bringing up to 1,500 people into the downtown core night after night will ensure the downtown food and beverage establishments thrive. A bustling downtown is somewhere people want to spend time.
A vibrant downtown attracts other shops and services. The performing arts centre would draw people to the downtown not only at night. There are weekend matinees and weekday school programs as well, as well as potential of use by small conferences. The people using the centre, along with the people who would work at the centre would shop downtown.
But why does a vibrant downtown matter?
First, a vibrant downtown is a place people want to go, to hang out, to shop, and to spend time celebrating with friends. Second, it matters because building community matters. Anytime we have chance to come together as a community, Kamloops is a better place. Communities who come together have a chance to get to know each other. Third, a vibrant downtown attracts others to Kamloops, whether from a nearby town for one show, as a tourist, or as someone who chooses to move here
A vibrant downtown is the heart of a community. Having a performing arts centre will make Kamloops’ heart even better.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.