Arts Centre plan 'B' faces opposition

By James Peters
December 14, 2015 - 11:47am Updated: December 14, 2015 - 5:51pm

KAMLOOPS — City Councillor Denis Walsh wants to put the brakes on a plan to demolish the former Kamloops Daily News building downtown.

The site was tabbed for a possible performing arts centre, but that plan was kiboshed in a public referendum last month.

Council is expected to vote tomorrow on a plan to demolish the building to make way for more parking downtown.

Councillor Walsh says he has an idea for that would preserve the former newspaper building, and construct a cheaper arts centre.

Meanwhile, Mayor Peter Milobar is skeptical, saying the building may be beyond saving.

"If it was that viable of a building, Glacier Media - who owned it before us - they're also in the commercial real estate industry. They were not able to able to make the numbers work to have tenants in there, other than the newspaper," said Milobar, adding, "The reality is, there is a need for parking downtown, the building will have to come down. There is serious remediation you would have to do if you want to try and use it, in terms of asbestos and boilers, and things like that."

The demolition cost of $1.1-million is already in the city's budget, and would not be a new cost.

Milobar notes the city has already gathered a waiting list of people looking to use the new parking spaces once they are created.

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