What's the plan for Stuart Wood, Daily News building?

December 16, 2016 - 5:00pm

KAMLOOPS — They say if you aren't moving forward, the world is passing you by, and it's never been more obvious than in the Kamloops downtown this year.

Nearly two years ago, the city put forward a plan that would have seen tens of millions of dollars in grants and private donations coupled with public funding to build a performing arts centre and parking garage on the site of the Kamloops Daily News building.

It has been more than a year since the voters of Kamloops rejected that plan.

The vote was short-sighted, but there's no use wallowing in it.

The city and its residents, whether supporters or opponents of the plan, should have moved on.

Still, the property sits idle with no hint that the city has any idea what to do with its multi-million dollar real estate gambit, besides repair the occasional vandalized window.

Just a few blocks away, the former Stuart Wood Elementary School also sits empty.

It's a different kettle of fish, certainly.

Stuart Wood's heritage value stands opposed to the Daily News building and its inarticulate architecture that once contrasted so sharply with the wordsmithing that happened inside.

But once again, the property sits empty.

It's troubling.

When private downtown property sits vacant and aimless, there is only so much the city can do to try to change that.

The investors will see a flagging investment, get restless and try to turn it around.

The Daily News building and Stuart Wood are both publicly-held, and that means we're the investors.

Our millions of dollars have gone into these properties, and we should be getting restless.

With the months stretching into years, it is incumbent on our city not necessarily to divest or to develop, but simply to show some sort of vision, some semblance of a plan.

The heart of the city must be kept in good health.

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