Exciting new ideas show Kamloops can be a clean place to live

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
November 1, 2017 - 6:47am Updated: November 1, 2017 - 10:56am

KAMLOOPS — After several years  of standing still, Kamloops is suddenly poised on the edge of some visionary development.

Concept plans were unveiled Tuesday for the airport lands that include options like a dock-and-restaurant, hotel, business park, solar farm and possibly even a cannabis operation on some of the agricultural acreage.

Not all of the ideas will take hold, but there’s plenty of original thinking in what has been laid out by Vantage Airport Group. It isn’t just pie in the sky, either — Vantage is enthusiastic about moving forward.

And there was the announcement Monday by the Kelson Group for a major residential and commercial development that could renew the downtown core.

Kelson has acquired The Pines and The Oaks apartment buildings as well as several parcels of land in the adjacent area and plans to erect new condos and townhouses and include what it calls “unique green spaces.”

And just a few days earlier a new residential condo development was unveiled for TRU as part of its plan to integrate the campus with community life.

All of these things are signs of confidence in the future. They’re also signs of creative thinking by private enterprise and of a willingness to work in partnership with civic leaders.

We talk a lot about vision, and these are ideas that give tangible form to what Kamloops can become. They’re proof that Kamloops doesn’t have to grab at every mine or heavy industrial proposal that comes along.

It doesn’t have to be the Pittsburg of Canada or the Malartic of the West to have a healthy economy.

Kamloops can instead build job-creating bricks and mortar projects that make the city — and the surrounding region — a more beautiful, livable place, a clean place.

And when the private sector illustrates that kind of leadership, can the political will be far behind? The first thing you know, Kamloops will be building more public amenities, and will have the tax base to pay for them.

That’s the kind of a place people can get excited about.