Armchair Mayor

By: Mel Rothenburger

Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). He continued to write columns for The Daily News until it ceased publication Jan. 11, 2014, and did regular commentary for CBC Radio.

Reflections on Ajax: there must be a better way

December 16, 2017 - 8:43am


Word that a decision on Ajax was imminent came as a surprise Thursday afternoon. Most everybody had thought B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall wouldn’t make an announcement until the new year.

There was, after all, a pile of stuff to read after six years of rancorous public debate, report after study after report, and starts and stutters in the review process.

But, they let it be known during the lunch hour Thursday that they’d announce their decision at 2 p.m., and they did.

Ajax is dead; let the healing begin

December 15, 2017 - 6:09am

KAMLOOPS — Thursday’s announcement that the Ajax project is dead might be the best news for the Kamloops region since the coming of the railroad.

But what to do now? After six long years of splitting the community in two, Ajax — which once seemed like a sure thing — is finished.

It’s like a huge weight being lifted off collective shoulders, yet there’s no question that a lot of people wanted to see it go ahead. The torn fabric of the community has to be mended.

Horgan’s reluctant ‘yes’ on Site C was the right call

December 12, 2017 - 5:12am Updated: December 12, 2017 - 3:36pm

KAMLOOPS — So, Site C is a go. Which leaves about half the people in B.C. happy as clams, and the other half mad as hatters.

The Greens and their ilk are in the latter category, of course, but leader Andrew Weaver has already said his party won’t abandon the NDP over it.

He questions why John Horgan was willing to absorb the cost of removing tolls from Lower Mainland bridges but now cites debt-servicing concerns as justification for approving Site C.

If Greyhound is so essential, maybe we'll have to pay for it

December 11, 2017 - 5:09am Updated: December 11, 2017 - 11:27am

KAMLOOPS — What’s this world coming to? We’re losing our department stores, the post office is in trouble, newspapers are dying — what’s next?

Rural bus service, that’s what. The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board begins a week of public meetings tonight in northern B.C. to hear what people think of Greyhound Canada’s plans to cut nine more bus routes.

The new parking lot, the parking fee hike, and Plan B

December 9, 2017 - 1:46pm

I sat in my old office at The Kamloops Daily News yesterday.

Or, rather, I sat in my truck in a parking spot where my old office used to be, thinking about George W. Bush.

By strict coincidence, at almost exactly the same time, the Kamloops Downtown Business Improvement Association was announcing it wants the City to put off the parking-fee increase scheduled for next year.

Wildfire review up against the clock before next fire season

December 8, 2017 - 4:52am

KAMLOOPS — The NDP government has finally called an inquiry into this past summer’s wildfires, adding the devastating flood situation into the mix.

The only surprise, if you could call it that, is that it took so long to get a review underway. There’s an obvious need to look back at what happened this year, to figure out what was done right and what could be done better, and to get ready for the next big one.

Close down illegal pot shops, or leave them alone?

December 7, 2017 - 5:01am

KAMLOOPS — Cities and towns across B.C. — including Kamloops — will need the wisdom of Solomon to deal with illegal pot stores in the run-up to a change in federal laws next year.

Until July 1, 2018, the sale of recreational marijuana is illegal, but so is the unlicensed sale of medical marijuana. The impending legalization of recreational cannabis has encouraged the proliferation of medical marijuana shops.