Potential Centre for the Arts should bring new life to Kamloops

The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society will be going forward with a referendum in early 2020

The performing arts centre referendum should be taking place in early 2020, and if approved, the centre may be completed as early as Fall 2023. (Submitted)

After some struggle to get approval from the city and its residents in previous years, the Kamloops Centre for the Arts will be heading to a referendum in the early months of 2020.

Norman Daley, President of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society discussed his thoughts on the importance of the arts centre in Kamloops and what will happen in the future if the centre is approved by citizens.

Daley said that he thinks of the centre as a community centre for Kamloops.

“I think it’s a community centre that will allow all forms of activities to take place. Obviously, there are some major groups in the community, with the Symphony and Western Canada Theatre that would be the primary tenants of the facility. I think that it’s going to be a place that’s available to everybody.”

Daley also adds that many venues in the community are being used for events that don’t quite fit the spaces that they are given.

“A lot of the art functions right now are going into sporting facilities. Right now, high school graduations are held on an ice surface. Let’s try to get these events into the correct space to make them as positive as possible for the people involved and also then allow for the other spaces to be used for their intended purpose.”

The centre is proposed to be located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Seymour Street, which is currently a parking lot. Daley adds that “it’s a site that was chosen in 2015 after a review of a number of different locations and was supported by community input.”

What is currently most important to the centre of the arts society is to provide accurate information about the centre to residents of Kamloops.

“We want people to understand and to try to ensure that everyone has information and that they can be supportive of it,” Daley said. “What we want to do is ensure that the vision we have for the centre gets out to the community.”

When asked about what comes next if the centre is approved, Daley provided a quick potential timeline.

“We have a very aggressive timeline. We would hopefully get approval in March of 2020.” Daley said that there would approximately be one year of planning, and then two and a half years to build. The project would hopefully be completed in the Fall of 2023, but all the numbers are estimates.

Daley added, “it’s a very aggressive timeframe for these types of facilities but if we have willing people that want to move things forward, things will get done and things will happen.”

Regarding payment for the centre, Daley said “right now, we’re looking at needing to raise a minimum of 22 million dollars to get to the 70 [million] with the 45 million from the city. If we can raise more than 22 million, well, trust that we’ll reduce the cities requirements.” Daley added that Ron and Rae Fawcett are contributing to the centre as well, which will help offset the costs.

When asked how people could support the centre, Daley said, “we have a membership and it’s two dollars. People go ‘oh why is it so cheap’ and the concept is that we’re not trying to raise a bunch of money from this, we’re trying to make this an inclusive opportunity so that we can gauge the community support for this project.”

Daley adds that “our website provides a wealth of information about benefits, the cost, and identifies the needs in our business case for the new facility.” He mentioned that they have over three thousand members now and anyone can easily sign up on their website at kamloopscentreforthearts.ca.