Former Daily News building to be demolished in mid-to-late July

By Chad Klassen
June 27, 2017 - 3:45pm Updated: June 27, 2017 - 5:50pm

KAMLOOPS — After sitting empty for more three years, the former Kamloops Daily News building will be demolished for good in a few weeks. 

Council voted 5-2 in favour of awarding the $498,000 contract to Dakota Reclamators, which will be in charge of taking down the building. The city says that will happen in mid-late July, making room for a surface parking lot for the short term before a decision is made on a potential parkade in the future. 

"It's an interim parking lot. That's kind of the idea," said interim mayor Arjun Singh, who voted 'yes' on the interim parking lot. "This is really around making it potentially a place for developers can see more opportunity because it's a blank canvas."

Opposition came from Donovan Cavers and Denis Walsh, who had pushed hard to revitalize the building in some way to keep the downtown thriving. At Tuesday's meeting, he also questioned the total cost of $1.1 million. 

"We came out with a $500,000 bid, so now we have $600,000 we're going to put in this parking lot when the numbers didn't seem that high before," said Walsh. "To me, it's seems like a lot of money, $600,000, for an interim parking lot.

The surface parking lot will add 70 parking stalls. The city says $200,000 is allocated for contingency, $100,000 for design, and $300,000 for parking lot construction.

"Some of those numbers are guestimates when it went out to tender," said city CAO David Trawin. "What we're trying to show is we can do all the work that we said we could for what's in the budget. Obviously if we can get it done cheaper, we're going to get it done as cheap as we can and not spend the money just because we have it. But we're quite comfortable we can get the work done with that budget."

The city says during the demolition and construction, displaced commuters that use the current parking lot will be redirected to spots along Lorne Street and near the former Stuart Wood Elementary School among other locations. 

Kamloops by-election set for Saturday, September 30