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Candidate Q&A: Council and mayoral candidates on the city's vibrancy

This week's question: There have been many ideas about enhancing the vibrancy of the city, including the proposed performing-arts centre, the proposed outdoor ice rink, the pedestrian plaza pilot project, the Peterson Creek pathway and the yet-to-be
candidate qa q&a questions answers municipal election 2018

This week's question:

There have been many ideas about enhancing the vibrancy of the city, including the proposed performing-arts centre, the proposed outdoor ice rink, the pedestrian plaza pilot project, the Peterson Creek pathway and the yet-to-be decided fate of the former golf course on McArthur Island. What would you like to see to enhance the vibrancy of Kamloops?

Donovan Cavers

"The PAC NOT YET group killed the performing-arts centre for a time, but another look wouldn't hurt. I am interested to see the forthcoming outdoor rink study. Many are looking forward to the yet-to-be-renamed multi-use pathway. I am very intrigued by the very positive reception the Fourth Avenue plaza pilot project received and permanently opening up the area to people, with better street furniture and proper trees, planters, etc., would be great."

Dennis Giesbrecht

Big projects for vibrancy need to be multi-use. An arts centre with hotel/condo/retail/convention space components would cater to as many people as possible, giving it the best possible chance of being successful. 

Corally Delwo

I fully support the joint effort between the Kamloops Naturalist Club and the Kamloops Disc Golf Club. I think both of these groups could collaborate and come up with a great multi-use idea for the park. It is used already for many sports, tournaments and events. Having revenue from people using the space for disc golf would be a plus to the city, as well as some interpretive nature ideas for leisure and walks. 

Shawn Harnett

I like all these ideas. I like the fact we pilot-projected the pedestrian plaza rather then just committing to it. Of these ideas, the performing-arts centre is the most attractive as far as bringing the most vibrancy and traffic. I also am a big fan with what is happening with the North Shore. I feel it has been a long time coming and appreciate the efforts of everyone involved.

Jennifer Adams

I enjoyed the pedestrian plaza downtown and look forward to the improved areas on the North Shore with Spirit Square. While I appreciate the Peterson Creek pathway, it is an ambitious project that will serve a small population with concerning cost overruns. I think we could have used some of that funding to improve existing infrastructure, fortify bike and skateboard lanes in other areas to address acute deficiencies in our transportation network and upgrade sidewalk infrastructure around schools. I love the idea of an outdoor rink and am supportive of projects that encourage physical activity and family involvement. A water park along the flats near Mount Paul would be a great project for our reserve land. This would help provide jobs and opportunity. How about combining the water park and skating idea on one site that could be used through the whole year?

Alison Klie

I am in favour of all these public projects. I was a big supporter of the original proposed performing-arts centre and believe a project of that size and scope would have been a huge asset to the city. I think Kamloops needs a mid-level concert venue with 1,000 to 2,000 seats so we can attract more acts that are too big for Sagebrush Theatre and too small for Sandman Centre. Having more venues in the city will also help alleviate scheduling conflicts. I believe in supporting these kinds of public projects because I feel they will help Kamloops grow and become more prosperous.

Bill Sarai

I would like to see all of the above, as well as a covered sports complex for all of our residents to enjoy, especially during the winter months. The Henry Grube Education Centre site would be a great place to house a performing-arts centre with an outdoor amphitheatre overlooking the view of where the two rivers meet. It may be a pipe dream, but what about a gondola going from McArthur Island, across the river and up to TRU? We would eliminate the number of cars on the road, it could be a tourist attraction in the summer and it would help students now struggling to find and pay for parking at the university. 

Stephen Karpuk

Murals on buildings, like in Chemainus, attracts tourists. Finish the North Shore dike as part of Rivers Trail to Kamloops Lake. Build a preforming-arts and convention centre at TRU.

Kathy Sinclair

I’d love to see a non-stadium facility within walking distance of shops and restaurants that could be used as a venue for comedy shows, high school graduations, conferences, music, dance and theatre performances. We have an amazing local entertainment scene, but there’s no question we are missing out on some of the acts that pass through town because of lack of venues. I’d also love for the densest areas of Kamloops to have access to a car-share program (in addition to the one at TRU). A lot of us can save some significant money by reducing car ownership. The area I find most exciting is the North Shore. The Tranquille Market is the next Commercial Drive (i.e. funky, artsy business area) of Kamloops. We have some pretty great businesses along there already — a few more funky cafes, shops, galleries and restaurants and we’re going to have a vibrant and exciting neighbourhood.

Arjun Singh

One way to answer your question is to note all the ideas and projects mentioned are buildings, places or paths. We also need to ensure people will actively use these buildings, places and paths. It is safe to say, for example, that Kamloopsians really love the outdoors and our natural landscapes. Helping facilitate even more enjoyment of the outdoors, without overburdening one area or another, seems like a really good idea to add even more vibrancy. I feel Kamloops is already really vibrant. I support looking at a better supported proposal for a performing-arts centre, seriously considering an outdoor skating rink and establishing a permanent pedestrian plaza downtown. I am looking forward to the soon-to-be opened Peterson Creek pathway. As McArthur Island is largely sports-oriented now, I lean towards a nature park on the old golf course and find another location for an awesome disc golf course.

Mike O’Reilly

It is time for Kamloops to catch up to Prince George, Vernon and Chilliwack and build a performing-arts centre. I would support a version of a facility that would provide space for multiple user groups and incorporate housing above the facility. I do not believe this facility needs to have a large parkade included. As Kamloops densifies, we must start providing more park space. There is a debate about what to do with McArthur Island. There is only a debate because we are running out of park space across Kamloops. The city must look at acquiring more parkland as we reach a population of 100,000. 

Ken Christian

I believe there are several things we can do to improve vibrancy and livability. I would love to see elements of the downtown revitalization plan implemented, the creation of a cultural centre, more performance options for the arts and better active transportation options.

Gerald Watson

Kamloops is constantly competing to attract physicians with specialities and other professionals. Arts, sports and culture make a city feel vibrant. We need an arts and culture initiative comparable to the Tournament Capital program (facilities and support for the arts community). Revive Spoolmak days.

Sadie Hunter

I believe there’s a need for things that will promote desirability and livability. We need to look ancillary amenities and services that enhance quality of life — value-added features that level up the experience of living in Kamloops versus another community. We’re off to a good start with access to sports and recreation. I’d like to see the same focus placed on developing arts and culture. We have a sports and recreation master plan. Why not an arts and culture master plan? Enhancing vibrancy also includes looking at any barriers that may keep community-led initiatives from taking place. A good example of a wildly successful citizen-led project is Brewloops. Another one, held this past summer and hosted by iTel Networks, was SubCulture Kamloops. I want to ask how we can make these types of events happen with relative ease as they are great additions to our community.

Caroline King

I think we need a performing-arts centre that would bring in performers we miss due to size restraints. I want to see a grassroots/private model far scaled back from the original $90-million proposal and perhaps it could be on the North Shore to help bring the two sides of the river together. We need something to attract the younger generation and an arts venue may really assist with that. 

Dale Bass

A performing-arts centre has a significant economic spinoff. It creates jobs. It attracts visitors. Its audiences take advantage of nearby hotels, restaurants and coffee shops. Moving forward on one, several essentials must be in place. Funding needs to be secured so this is not a short-term project. If a P3 proposal is followed, guarantees must be in place for Kamloops employment opportunities. And council needs to pay attention to the lesson from the referendum: the North Shore cannot be ignored.

Nicholas Adams

I would like to see a pool returned to the North Shore. With the removal of the McDonald Park pool, families in the area do not have easy access to healthy recreation a pool provides. An aquatic centre on McArthur Island would benefit the entire city. The projects mentioned in the question above will go a long way to making Kamloops a more vibrant community; however, we need to ensure they are sustainable and fiscally responsible. We can do this by engaging the stakeholders involved, ensuring innovative grassroots proposals are brought forward and keeping the public informed about such endeavours.

William Turnbull

Enhance the Kamloops Lake public beach on Tranquille Road at Cooney Bay.

Denis Walsh

I would prefer to receive feedback and engagement from our community in the initial planning stages of a project. We need input from more people, particularly from those who may be affected by a particular project. We need a balance of ideas from the community and administration to help council make informed decisions. I prefer a bottom-up, grassroots style of planning versus top-down management. People most affected or knowledgeable about the issue can provide valuable insight to the majority of the proposals. Council needs to play a lead role in creating an atmosphere that encourages meaningful and timely engagement with residents.

Dieter Dudy

An interesting question to have follow the last one regarding tax increases. Increasing the vibrancy of the city involves spending money, which in all likelihood will have us going to the taxpayers. But increasing vibrancy increases livability and, in turn, does much to bolster the economy. You would put more people to work, you would have increased tourism, you would create a positive, welcoming environment that would attract new industry, small and large. I would like to see us revisit the concept of a performing-arts centre, one that is more inclusive in partnering and with respect to what we showcase. I would also like to see a cultural centre that speaks to who we are and how we got here and do this in partnership with our neighbours across the river. I would like to see a year-round public market that showcases local agricultural product, artisans, local food purveyors, etc. All of these would inject vibrancy into our already vibrant community.

Jimmy Johal

We need to engage residents on these kinds of things, early and often. Many people feel too many things are being decided without proper community input. When it comes to discretionary-type of spending like this, why can’t residents have a say? There are other communities that have participatory budgeting processes, where residents come up with ideas. City departments vet those ideas to make sure they’re doable and fit within the budget framework. The community then votes on one idea out of several options, most likely through mail-in or online ballots. This is the type of engagement I believe will result in awesome projects and make Kamloops unique. I’d like to see the Tournament Capital Ranch completed with agricultural-event facilities, special-event facilities, a destination water park and more. This would diversify our tourism industry beyond sports. But what the people want, that’s more important to me.  

Chris Bose

We need to create a diverse city, including sports, adventure tourism, mountain biking and arts and culture. There are multiple organizations in the community that represent varying art and culture styles, but we are lacking a hub for the arts community. Perhaps we could create a venue using an under-utilized city or school district-owned building. The performing-arts centre should remain a possibility for our city. It could be an amazing place to help support local artists, musicians and creative individuals. An outdoor ice rink both downtown and on the North Shore would increase accessibility to free, healthy activities for our community and, in the summers, provide a safe space for skateboarders. We could consider disc golf on McArthur Island. A more central location could provide opportunities for tournaments, festivals and more.