I took a bike ride through Riverside Park and stopped to enjoy the live band playing in the nightly Music in the Park series.
It was great to see hundreds of diverse people from all generations happily gathering after the cancellations experienced under COVID-19, fires and floods.
It prompted me reflect on the importance of coming together to experience the arts and society’s role in supporting these initiatives.
What was absent at the park was anyone protesting about taxpayer dollars going toward a public recreational space like the park, the cost of the bandshell, the administrative costs of running such a program or the fees paid to the artists.
Perhaps it seemed free upon forgetting our tax dollars were at play.
Other “free” events occur throughout Kamloops for people of all ages and some have varied admission costs or utilize corporate sponsorship to cover part of the expenses.
Many of them happen in taxpayer-funded buildings that also serve as action centres in times of climate or public health emergencies.
Seeing these formerly considered unprecedented incidences occurring with increasing pace, the resulting capacity pressures cascading into seemingly unrelated sectors is astonishing.
I fear we may be stalling on the fight to get our share of government funds (a.k.a. tax revenue) to move forward on projects like an arts centre building.
As Kamloops grows and ecosystems shift, I hope we keep up with the development of public facilities that can serve us year-round on so many levels.