Former MLA proposes elaborate performing arts centre

By Jessica Lepp
March 10, 2016 - 12:11pm Updated: March 10, 2016 - 4:54pm

KAMLOOPS — A former longtime MLA is unveiling his plans for a proposed performing arts centre that would see the demolition of the former Kamloops Daily News building.

Kevin Krueger is unveiling his elaborate idea that would include much more than just an arts centre and would be less of a financial burden on Kamloops tax payers.

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Jessica Lepp

The last time this building was in use was in January 2014 after Kamloops Daily New employees were handed layoff notices.

It has since been subject to a number of proposals.

Most notably the proposed performing arts centre and parkade that went to referendum and was inevitably defeated.

“We would like to bring out a proposal that would involve less local financing,” says Krueger.

He says the referendum likely failed because of the heavy burden on Kamloops tax payers.

Krueger says his proposal would include less local government financing and would be supplemented by more money from Ottawa and the provincial government.

“Prime Minister Trudeau is willing to accept applications for various infrastructure projects. We're hopeful there. While i was in government, the province would never let federal dollars go away when we could match them or eve for a third.”

Krueger believes he has a new idea that financially would be more feasible but also inject new life into the downtown core.

“We're at the stage now where we should be advancing as a city. We should have more high end commercial properties here but to build them you need high end tenants and high end financiers. We think that can be done,” says Krueger.

The elaborate proposal would include a rooftop patio for concerts, affordable housing for seniors and high end housing for private purchase and additional parking spaces for the public.

It would also include the demolition of the former Daily News building, an idea Councilor Dennis Walsh doesn't approve of.

“I think taking down the building is ridiculous. If you look at the assessment report, there's 30-35 years of life left in it, it's built beyond standards,” says Walsh.

Walsh fears it could cost more than a million dollars to tear the building down and says he would like to see a performing arts centre built beside it.

Walsh says, “what's really needed is a second building because we're seeing the Sagebrush can't handle the business. We know that's a fact. The biggest theatre is a risk. I think we should do this in phases and put in the one we really require right now. We should use the KDN building as a community centre.”

Walsh' other options for the building are to use it for a year-round farmers market, or for the Kamloops Museum.

The City has issued a Request for Information and is looking for public feedback on the former Daily News property. The closing deadline for responses is April 1st.

Flights grounded at Kamloops Airport