No arts centre means parking congestion remains

By Chad Klassen
November 9, 2015 - 5:13pm Updated: November 13, 2015 - 11:24am

Saturday's vote to reject the performing arts centre means no parkade either, and the struggle for some to find parking downtown will continue.

"It's always been an issue," says Maeghan Summers, co-owner of the Noble Pig Brewhouse downtown. "When you come down to various areas of downtown, you can circle sometimes four or five times to try to find parking."

Summers says the lack of parking makes it difficult for guests who want to enjoy a night out. 

"Particularly on event night, street parking gets taken right away and then there's not that secondary parking for guests who aren't going to those events," says Summers. "So for us, having additional parking would allow for those guests that may not want to necessarily go down, come because there's a space to park."

Some residents said today they feel parking is only a problem on event nights. Others feel it's a problem all the time. 

But how to accomodate that shortage has been a problem for many years in Kamloops. 

In 2011, the city proposed a two-level, 348-stall parkade in Riverside Park, needing to borrow $8 million to build it. But with public pressure, the project didn't go ahead. 

The arts centre, which would have come with 350 parking stalls, failed as well. Now it's coming up with alternatives for parking.

"It's still early days," says Mayor Peter Milobar. "We have to figure out what exactly it means. We bought the Daily News site specifically for parking. Are we moving forward or not? Council will have those discussions, but it's really too early."

Currently, the city has no 'Plan B' with the property on Seymour Street. But one thing is certain --- there's still a desire for a parkade downtown. 

"We've always said we want to see additional parking, but no different than what the Mayor said, we don't necessarily have a Plan B," says Summers. "It's going to be an important conversation at our next meeting, to see how we want to move forward with our parking solutions."

Arts community disappointed in PAC vote