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Big plans for a popular Kamloops live entertainment hub

The Effie Arts Collective is located at 424 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.

The owner of a popular live entertainment hub on Kamloops' North Shore isn’t worried about a new development in the works for the property his business is located on, in fact he is using the opportunity to improve the venue.

The Effie Arts Collective, located at 422 Tranquille Rd., has been hosting live musicians, burlesque dancers and comedians for the past couple of years.

Propolis Housing Cooperative purchased the properties at 422 and 424 Tranquille Rd. for $945,000 this week, according to a media release by the cooperative issued April 3.

The property will be turned into a non-market, six-storey mixed-use development to house residents more equitably. It will include 50 affordable residential units, with approximately 9,300 square feet of commercial space on the ground level.

“We fit nicely together with the housing initiative and have been part of the planning, right from the start we knew this was always in the plans,” said co-owner of The Effie, Aaron Butowski.

When the new development is complete The Effie will be on the main floor with a bigger venue and a better theatre space.

“There will be a period of down time for the existing commercial tenants in the building,” Propolis co-founder Lindsay Harris said. “We’re having early conversations with those tenants to be as inclusive as we can in the design process and make sure we are working together.”

Both the housing cooperative and the arts venue have a similar inclusive, community approach. The Effie Arts Collective is an event venue where the community can gather and share collective experiences.

“We operate as a rental facility, we work in partnership with other arts and theatre groups in Kamloops,” Butowski said. “They rent the space and we work together to put on the shows and pay performers whatever we can, keeping the costs for guests as low as possible.”

Harris said a core value of the housing initiative is anti-displacement.

“We believe in supporting the existing assets in the neighbourhood and the collective is an incredible asset," she said. "We want to design a space that is going to work for them and the work they’re doing to reinvigorate art on the north shore and we want them to feel confident they are going to have a home.”

The other business in the building at 424 Tranquille Rd. is Hatsuki Sushi Restaurant and Harris said they've had conversations with the owner.

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“One thing we’re excited about is we’re planning to build a net zero building with no natural gas hookup,” Harris said. “That can be an issue with restaurant because the equipment is based on gas hookup. They are excited to transition to an all electric restaurant.”

This is the first property purchased by the new cooperative housing initiative since emerging in 2023 to help meet housing targets mandated by the province.  All the residential units will operate as non-profit cooperative housing and are targeted to be priced at below rental market prices.

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The next phase for the development includes project design and getting a development permit with the occupancy planned for late 2026.

“We’ll be more visible from across the street and be able to accommodate more community groups,” Butowski said. “This space has been a performing space in Kamloops for a long time, at one time it was Joe’s Cabaret. It has a lot of history, feelings and emotions for people.

“We’re happy and fortunate we have this opportunity to keep it as such and improve it. We’re very excited for this building to go up.”

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