Proposals aplenty; no official submissions received

By Tarrah Harvey
March 22, 2016 - 5:48pm Updated: March 22, 2016 - 7:10pm

KAMLOOPS — The former Daily News building has been the subject of many proposals, the most recent coming from the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

The Association believes most Kamloops residence do in fact want a performing arts centre and say their plan will focus on reducing the cost of a new facility.

“We kind of see there would be three components. One would be the retrofit of the Kamloops News building, two would be a 450 seat theater, and then over there, that larger parking area could hold the larger 1,200 seat theatre.” Said Bruce Thomson, the Chair of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

The idea comes after the City called on the public and development community for ideas for the building at 4th and Seymour.

One of the main concerns with proposed plans has been cost, but Thompson says a lot of money would be saved by retrofitting the daily news building instead of demolishing it. Along with that, Thomson said money could be saved in the parking infrastructure.

"We were told that a lot of the money was tied up in the underground parking. We would look at reducing that underground parking, so we're kind of hopeful that between those two things we would be able to get the cost down significantly” Thomson said.

The City of Kamloops says they originally proposed 348 parking stalls for the property and say reducing that could be restricting.

"Once you restrict your underground parking, you can't go back in later and add it” said Dave Freeman, the Assistant Development and Engineering Services Director/Real Estate Manager for the City of Kamloops.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association predicts the project could be somewhere in the $30 or $40 million range, but say until they take a closer look at what needs to be done to revive the building, they can't say for sure.

“It would need a new boiler, it would need a new air circulation system, some of the water systems, there's a quest in for whether there is asbestos in it, those sorts of things." Thomson said.

The city's Request for Information on the Daily News property ends on April 15th.

While ideas have been flying back and forth in public, Real Estate Manager David Freeman says the city has yet to receive any official proposals.

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