Kamloops: A City Divided

Two & Out
By James Peters
November 13, 2015 - 10:40am Updated: November 18, 2015 - 10:52am

The time for analyzing what happened to lead to last weekend's result in the performing arts centre referendum has come and gone.

But we can still learn something very important if we take a look at the detailed results.

Assuming most people voted close to home, those results show a big disconnect between areas of the city that wanted the centre, and areas that didn't like the proposal.

It's the south shore that voted 'yes,' and the North Shore and outlying neighbourhoods that voted 'no.'

Kamloops, unlike any other Western Canadian city its size, is a city divided, not just into two camps, but into many different camps.

Because of our unique geography, and because of our history as separate communities prior to amalgamation, we think of ourselves differently.

West End people carry their own identity, and its distinct from other Kamloopsians.

The same can be said about the North Shore, about Barnhartvale, about Westsyde, about Aberdeen, and probably all the rest of our individual communities.

With that knowledge in our pocket, is it important that the city caters to each distinct neighbourhood in its planning practices, or should it try to bring the city together?

Probably a bit of both.

We can build and maintain parks and infrastructure meant to serve one neighbourhood's residents, but when it comes to major, multi-million dollar amenities, they have to go somewhere, and that should be decided on the basis of logic and smart planning practices.

And no neighbourhood should have felt slighted that the arts centre was planned for downtown.

The referendum debate divided us into two camps as a community, and our geography divides us into many more.

The downtown of any city has to be the place built for everyone to come together, and we need to do more work to make sure Kamloops has that kind of downtown.

With the performing arts centre off the table - at least for the time being - we should shift gears to other developments that help all our many neighbourhoods feel the downtown belongs to them.