Performing Arts Centre Debate

Two & Out
By James Peters
September 25, 2015 - 5:45pm Updated: October 12, 2015 - 11:25pm

The 'yes' side appears to be gaining momentum in the performing arts centre debate - with groups coming on board seemingly every day this week.

The overwhelming feeling on social media is still 'no,' though, with most people saying the price tag is too high - or that we simply don't need the amenity.

We talk about proposals like this in terms of needs when that's simply hyperbole.

A few years ago, a group of Kamloops residents decided we didn't need the parkade proposed for Lorne Street, and it turns out we didn't.

We all survived.

Now, we're hearing the same language about the Ajax mine.

Proponents say we need it.

We don't.

Whether or not it would be net benefit to Kamloops is another question.

And that's the question we should ask about the performing arts centre as well.

Will it be a net benefit to Kamloops.

Do we need it?

The Yes side says we do, but the truth is, without it, life would go on much as it is now.

The arts scene would make do with the venues we already have.

It's not like we could spend money on things we might need more, because as mentioned before, if we vote down the referendum, the money simply isn't there.

Instead, let's think about the possibilities - and that's where the business case presented to council earlier this month should provide some good input.

The business case doesn't say we need the arts centre, but it illuminates the possibilities of building it.

101-million dollars into the economy during construction, and 11-million dollars annually after that.

Dozens of jobs and a shot in the arm for a downtown that could use one.

It will take vision and it will take investment on the part of those of us who pay residential taxes.

We certainly could say no to something that will cost us money and be an improvement to the community.

We could.

It's about time we say yes.