Ask not how to make PAC plan fail, but how to make it work

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
January 9, 2019 - 6:50am Updated: January 9, 2019 - 12:18pm

KAMLOOPS — IT WOULD BE very easy to poke holes in the new proposal for a performing arts centre unveiled on Tuesday.

There are a lot of questions to be asked, the main one being, how much will it cost taxpayers? With only 70 parking spaces provided for in the plan, where will the rest come from, and at what cost?

How will residents have input into the idea? Who will it serve?

Those are the kinds of things that need to be answered, and will be answered, in the coming months.

Here’s what we do know. The total project is estimated at $70 million, $21 million less than the plan for the same site that was defeated in 2015.

If the original proposal were to be built today, it would likely cost more than $100 million, so right off the bat the new scenario is a good $30 million less.

Knock another $8-10 million off that with the promised donation by Ron and Rae Fawcett of the Telus Annex next door for incorporation into the complex.

Further consider grants from federal and provincial governments. It’s my guess the project might be eligible for up to two-thirds from those sources.

Will there be other corporate and personal donations? I expect so. Would that bring the cost to local taxpayers down to, say, $20 million or less? Is that wishful thinking?

At this point, it’s only a guessing game. Point is, this is a creative, exciting, visionary proposal.

To the naysayers out there — and there will be plenty — I say this: give it a chance. Ask the tough questions, but ask them with a view to making this proposal work, not in an effort to make it fail.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.