KAMLOOPS – With only four days until a referendum to decide the fate of a performing arts centre in Kamloops, residents might be questioning what it is they’re actually voting for.
The city’s business case outlined stakeholder’s desired amenities, or the wishes of groups who would potentially utilize the centre. The Kamloops Symphony asked for an orchestra pit, The Kamloops Art Council asked for artists’ space and the Western Canada Theatre company asked for a sizeable fly tower or space above the stage.
While the business case is complete with schematics and artist’s renderings, we won’t know what shape the desired amenities will take unless there is a positive referendum vote.
“The design features are conceptual only. They footprint a space of land,” Tammy Robertson, business and client services manager explains. If residents vote yes to the centre, the city will then send out bids for architects, engineers and designers.
“It could be totally different,” Robertson says of the final designs, adding the business case refers to all drawings as a "concept to inspire and stimulate discussion."
The business case envisions the main lobby as a two-storey open space, connecting the main level and balcony levels, to showcase the size and grandeur of the building. The lobby will also be large enough to rent out for events.
There will be to two separate theatre spaces, one main stage with 1,200 seats and a smaller stage with 350 seats. The rationale for two separate stages instead of one large one is the city requires performance spaces not necessarily seats. The business case mentions this a greater opportunity for performance bookings and revenue generating opportunities.
The main stage will have an 80-foot fly tower for theatrical performances. It will also have an orchestra pit which can be raised to create an even larger stage.
The smaller, 350 seat theatre will have retractable seats and stage. The room can change to a flat surface and be able to host nearly any type of event, again, the business case defines the design as a revenue generator.
In conjunction with the two theatres, there will be two rehearsal halls of different sizes to emulate the space of each stage.
Desirable, or add on amenities, include 6,000 square feet of archival storage for the Kamloops Art Gallery. This space will need to include environmental controls to protect the art.
There will be separate office space for performing groups when productions are at the centre, also rentable meeting rooms to accommodate between 10 and 20 people.
Along with leasable artists’ studios, there will be rental spaces open to the street to allow for restaurants, coffee shops or other social amenities in order to keep the centre busy during the day.
On Nov. 7, residents vote in a referendum where they will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $49 million to design and construct the parkade and performing arts centre complex. The referendum itself will cost roughly $160,000.
The proposed centre is a $90 million dollar project, with $25 million slated specifically for a parkade. If built, it will be located at 393 Seymour St., the site of the former Kamloops Daily News property. The centre and parkade will be financed with a two percent increase in property taxes over two years, which translates into roughly $40 dollars, per household, per year for 20 years.
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