I agonized over my vote on the purchase of the Old Courthouse.
Having participated in hours of meetings, having had tours of this wonderful building, having been approached by people asking about what was happening - I knew this was something many people in Kamloops wanted us to look at carefully.
In the end, I was worried about the potential for construction and cost overruns that might present themselves in the renovation of the building. We are in a booming construction market and we all know prices are escalating rapidly. And with heritage buildings, we have had cost overrun surprises in the recent past - such as with the Old Cigar Factory building the city now owns across from city hall.
So, today, I found myself being given a thorn by armchair Mayor Mel Rothenburger for not supporting the purchase when we voted.
But, the way I voted is old news. In case people are interested, and people have already asked me, I offered the above comments.
City Council, as a group, decided to purchase the old Courthouse. There are exciting plans to make it into a thriving centre of the arts in Kamloops. We have had the engineers and experts through the building more than once assessing the health of the structure and what renovations are needed.
I am now a supporter of Council's decision.
There is going to be a healthy and spirited debate about how the old Courthouse will now be run. At this point, I think its going to be very important, quite quickly, to put together a citizen led society to manage the building, much like what exists at St Andrews in the Square. That way, the building is not just a Big C City Building, but a true small c city building. I have also advocated doing a fundraising campaign in the community - to help spread the costs of the buildng, but also to give a broader feeling of ownership of what I am confident will be a great community resource.