July 4, 2024

Council announced the first two facilities to be built will be the Kamloops Centre for the Arts and an arena multiplex.

Mike O’Reilly

KAMLOOPS —The City of Kamloops announced the first steps of the Build Kamloops program recently and supported an affordable and responsible funding strategy that will address the community’s critical infrastructure needs through a multi-year development plan.

Build Kamloops was created to advance the infrastructure gaps identified in the 2019 Recreation Master Plan, which was informed by extensive research and community engagement. The multi-year visionary program will see the development of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts, an arena multiplex, a curling and racquet sport facility, an indoor field facility, a leisure aquatic centre, and a seniors centre or community space in conjunction with one of these.

As Canada’s third fastest-growing city, demand is outpacing the capacity of the incredible facilities that helped make us Canada’s Tournament Capital. While our facilities have been well-maintained, Kamloops has grown by 40,000 since we built our last major capital investment.

Council announced the first two facilities to be built will be the Kamloops Centre for the Arts and an arena multiplex, while planning and design for the other projects continue.

The Kamloops Centre for the Arts was identified as the number one priority by residents, interest holders, and user groups in the Recreation Master Plan and has been identified as a priority need in other strategic plans as far back as 2003. This spectacular facility will be built on City-owned land at 393 Seymour Street and will feature two dedicated theatre spaces, two levels of underground parking, and full accessibility throughout.

“Kamloops’ only dedicated theatre space—the Sagebrush Theatre—was built when our community was almost half the size we are now, and it cannot support community demand,” said Councillor Mike O’Reilly, Chair of the Build Kamloops Select Committee. “This facility will help Kamloops attract and retain the professionals we need and generate tourism opportunities and spinoffs that will benefit the entire community, regardless of if you ever step foot inside.”

The arena multiplex will add four ice rinks to the city’s over-subscribed arena inventory to support the hundreds of clubs and groups that need ice time in our community. It will be built on City-owned land at 2070 Hillside Drive, adjacent to the main entrance of Kenna Cartwright Park, building on our long history of repurposing otherwise unusable land and co-locating indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. The arena multiplex will include four new ice sheets with spectator capacity, community space, fitness facilities, and amenities for visitors to Kenna Cartwright Park. The easy access off the highway and proximity to hotels and retail will support the Tournament Capital hosting program and generate economic opportunities for local businesses.

Council has supported a measured and affordable funding strategy that minimizes the tax impact on residents and prioritizes fiscal responsibility. The finance strategy is based on four pillars: Fundraising, Grants, Existing Funds, and Capital Funding, including long-term debt.

“The City is in a strong financial position that allows us to increase our long-term debt with minimal impact to taxpayers,” said David Hallinan, the City’s Corporate Services Director. “For the average household, the tax impact will be only $25 more per year for five years.”

Council authorized three readings of the bylaws authorizing long-term borrowing and directed staff to send them to the Inspector of Municipalities for approval. Once approved, the City will seek authorization from the electorate via the alternate approval process to borrow up to $275 million to build the Kamloops Centre for the Arts, to design and build the arena multiplex, and for advance planning and design for future Build Kamloops priorities.

“An alternate approval process is the most affordable and efficient way to seek electorate approval for long-term borrowing,” said O’Reilly. “It requires the same level of transparency and oversight as a referendum without the $200,000 price tag.”

Council also announced three other projects today that are underway to fill gaps, meet immediate needs, and build capacity in the community.

Kamloops Seniors Community Centre
The City will open the Kamloops Seniors Community Centre this fall and provide new opportunities to support seniors in staying active, healthy, and connected. Council has authorized a long-term lease agreement to take over the 12,000 sq. ft. community space at 730 Cottonwood Avenue effective August 1, 2024. The new facility will be operated by the Centre for Seniors Information, building on their long history of providing key resources, programming, and services to seniors.

The City takes over the lease on August 1 and shortly thereafter, the Kamloops Seniors Community Centre will become the first Build Kamloops project to be completed.

Kamloops Youth Soccer Association Soccer Dome Repairs 
The City and the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association will build on their long history of supporting Kamloops youth in developing their soccer skills and athletic ability. Council has authorized a loan agreement that will extend the life of the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association Soccer Dome for the next 25 years, maintaining Kamloops’ only indoor field capacity while the new project is advanced.

Parkview Child Care Centre
While child care is a provincial mandate, Council recognizes the urgent need in Kamloops. Council is supporting the transition of the Parkview Activity Centre to a child care centre to address the critical shortage of child care spaces in our community. The additional capacity created by the opening of the Kamloops Seniors Community Centre will allow the City to transition community rentals and recreation programs from the Parkview Activity Centre, freeing up this location for a new purpose.

“Council is committed to seizing opportunities to meet immediate needs and build capacity in our community while we advance long-term solutions,” said O’Reilly. “A seniors centre has been identified as part of Build Kamloops since the start, and this opportunity allowed us to expedite that component and created a spin-off opportunity to create child care spaces.”

Residents are invited to attend a public open house to learn more about the Build Kamloops program and ask questions of staff and Council. The event will be held at Kelson Hall, 330 St. Paul Street, on July 9, 2024, 5:00–7:00 pm.  

Source: City of Kamloops




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