Parkade proposal up for debate
As a counter-petition against the proposed Lorne Street parkade continues to circulate throughout Kamloops, two city councillors are prepared to battle over the issue in public.
Councillors Tina Lange and Denis Walsh have agreed to debate each other on the proposed parkade.
The debate, which is being sponsored by the Kamloops Voters Society, the Kamloops chapter of the Council of Canadians and the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Desert Gardens, 540 Seymour St.
Lange, who is in support of the parkade, said she’s happy to take part in any event in which the community is being engaged.
She said she hopes to dispel what she called “misinformation” about the parkade, specifically the belief taxpayers will be on the hook for the project because the money is being borrowed.
Lange argued the parkade will be mostly self-sustaining, with taxpayers only subsidizing the project for about $10,000 a year.
“The facts need to be presented in a factual way and let’s get the emotion out of it,” she told KTW.
Walsh, who has been outspoken in his opposition to the parkade, could not be reached by KTW before press deadline.
Friends of Riverside Park, the group leading the counter-petition against the controversial parkade, collected 1,100 signatures in the first week of its campaign and believes the number could be near 3,000 after a second week.
The group won’t have its updated numbers available until Wednesday, Sept. 14.
Society president Chris Ortner said his group wants speculation about a hidden agenda for the parkade to be “out on the table.”
“We’re looking to promote critical thinking on this,” he said.
Ortner believes the counter-petition will succeed, arguing the entire issue needs to be discussed within the community.
Mayor Peter Milobar plans to attend the debate, but said he’s not sure if there is anything new to discuss.
“I guess we’ll see what facts come out,” he said, noting he sees the debate as more of an information session.
The debate is being moderated by Thompson Rivers University political scientist Derek Cook.
On Aug. 30, council gave final approval to a bylaw to borrow $8 million to build the parkade, triggering the alternative-approval process.
In May, city council decided to proceed with a two-level, 350 stall parkade in the Lorne Street parking lot adjacent to Riverside Park.