Kamloops Centre for the Arts Referendum


In spring 2020, electors will vote to decide if they are in favour of borrowing up to $45 million to construct the Kamloops Centre for the Arts (KCA).

On November 5, 2019, Kamloops City Council voted to support the development of the KCA in partnership with the KCA Society and directed staff to initiate a referendum to measure the electors' support for funding up to $45 million of the construction cost.

The business case, prepared by the KCA Society, outlines a new 120,000+ sq. ft. facility on the City-owned lot at the corner of 4th Avenue and Seymour Street, with


In spring 2020, electors will vote to decide if they are in favour of borrowing up to $45 million to construct the Kamloops Centre for the Arts (KCA).

On November 5, 2019, Kamloops City Council voted to support the development of the KCA in partnership with the KCA Society and directed staff to initiate a referendum to measure the electors' support for funding up to $45 million of the construction cost.

The business case, prepared by the KCA Society, outlines a new 120,000+ sq. ft. facility on the City-owned lot at the corner of 4th Avenue and Seymour Street, with an additional 20,000 sq. ft. of renovated existing space. The facility is anticipated to include the following spaces; however, detailed design and consultation would only move forward if the referendum is successful:

  • main stage theatre (~1,200 seats)
  • studio theatre (~450 seats)
  • black box flexible space
  • rehearsal, production, and education spaces
  • administrative spaces
  • resident tenant spaces
  • underground parking
  • meeting rooms
  • commercial space
  • support and storage areas
  • building systems

This project supports Council's strategic priorities and was supported unanimously by City Council.

Accurate information is integral to making an informed decision. If you have a question about the referendum or the proposed Kamloops Centre for the Arts, please ask it here. 

Please read through the other questions on this page, as well as the frequently asked questions, to see if your question has already been answered. 

Read before posting: Please ensure your questions are clear, concise, and relevant. While you may ask multiple questions, only include on one question per post to ensure clear answers. Submissions that do not meet these requests may not be answered or posted. Questions are to be respectful and abide by the moderation policy of the Let's Talk engagement website. 

Our team will strive to respond to your question within three business days.

Q&A

  • What will the Kamloops Centre for the Arts include?

    2 days ago

     It is anticipated that the 103,000 sq. ft. Centre for the Arts would include: 

    • main stage theatre (~1,200 seats)
    • theatre with fly tower, full catwalk, orchestra shell to enhance symphony productions, orchestral (is some text missing here?)
    • studio theatre (~450 seats)
    • black box flexible space
    • rehearsal, production, and education spaces
    • administrative spaces
    • resident tenant spaces
    • underground parking
    • meeting rooms
    • commercial space
    • support and storage areas
    • building systems

  • How much will the City have to pay to operate this facility?

    2 days ago

    The business case prepared by KPMG projects that the operating contribution in year one would be $703,000 and would be reduced to $383,000 in year five. By comparison, in 2018, the City’s operating contribution to the following facilities included the following:

    • Sandman Centre $752,197
    • Tournament Capital Centre $1,269,166
    • Arenas $2,169,989

  • Can the $45 million borrowing request be used elsewhere in the City?

    2 days ago

    The referendum states that the up to $45 million is to be used for a Centre for the Arts. If approved, the legislation requires the City to spend the money on this type of project. If the referendum fails, there is no borrowed money to spend. 

  • What is the total construction cost of the project?

    2 days ago

    The Class D estimate indicates the facility will cost approximately $70 million. A Class D estimate is the conceptual design of a facility, which is based on estimates and assumptions. This is a standard type of estimate for engineering projects and is intended for planning and budgeting purposes. It includes contingencies and attempts to estimate the various factors which are not yet complete. 

  • Why should taxpayers fund this? Shouldn’t the user groups pay for it?

    2 days ago

    Taxpayers in Kamloops support all of our City-owned venues, including arenas, pools, sports fields, the TCC, and parks. As a community, we embrace and support the diverse interests that make our city livable for all. While this venue will provide an opportunity for those interested in the arts, it is also well recognized in the business case that facility will be used for many community events that are not specifically connected to cultural user groups. The 2019–2022 Council Strategic Plan identifies livability as one of the four strategic priorities, stating that the City of Kamloops maintains a vibrant, high quality of life for an inclusive, healthy, and diverse community. 

  • What if the construction price rises dramatically after the referendum?

    2 days ago

    The referendum question will ask Kamloops citizens if they are in favour of the City of Kamloops borrowing up to $45 million for the project. If the City is not confident in bringing the project to completion within this amount, the project will not proceed unless other sources of funding are secured. This funding would need to come from other levels of government, grants, donors, or other City sources, such as reserves. The referendum will set the maximum amount the City can borrow for the project. Alternatively, if costs were to escalate, the scope of the project could be reconsidered to ensure it fit within the available funding.

  • How will this project be funded?

    2 days ago

    The project will be funded by donations, grants, and City borrowing. The estimate for the project is approximately $75 million, of which, the City is proposing to borrow up to $45 million for its contribution.

  • What is the total projected cost of repaying this loan?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Marion's original submission from 'Ask a Question', November 2019.

    The City will borrow a maximum of $45 million over a 25-year term through the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA https://mfa.bc.ca/), which facilitates all civic loans in BC. With its borrowing power, the MFA is able to secure better than comparative rates. 

    The rate in October 2019 was 2.82%.The annual principle and interest payments (total debt servicing) over the 25-year period is estimated to be $2.5 million per year, which will result in a total repayment amount of $62.581 million.
  • What opportunities does Kamloops miss due to a lack of a venue like this?

    2 days ago

    It is difficult to quantify the number opportunities Kamloops has missed due to a lack of appropriate venue space, however Kamloops is uniquely positioned in the province to host productions that are touring through Western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest. Concerts, theatre productions, comedy shows, and speakers series are examples of some of the touring events the Kamloops Centre for the Arts could accommodate.

    In the absence of an appropriate venue, sports facilities like the TCC or city arenas are often closed to the public in order to accommodate community engagements for large groups, such convocation ceremonies, that would be better suited for a facility like the Kamloops Centre for the Arts. For example, the TCC Fieldhouse is closed to the public for the equivalent of approximately 2.5—3 months per year to accommodate civic uses. These closures displace members, sport organizations, and other user groups from using those facilities for their intended purpose.

    In addition, Kamloops residents have long supported the City's Tournament Capital Program and the first-class events the City has been able to host due to our exceptional sporting facilities. As other cities improve their infrastructure, Kamloops needs to find new ways to differentiate itself in the market. The requirements for hosting tournaments and other sporting events has evolved beyond the field or arena. Many bid organizations require venues to host awards ceremonies, organizational or volunteer events, and media in addition to the sporting venues. In addition, bid organizations are seeking host communities that can build the athlete experience beyond the sporting event, with evening entertainment. Kamloops does not currently have the ability to accommodate these needs, and is therefore often unable to fulfill the complete bid requirements.

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts would fill a gap in the community and provide opportunities to host larger events and further expand the Tournament Capital Program.

    The new Recreation Master Plan asked citizens to identify what they thought was the greatest recreation infrastructure need, and the number one priority was an arts centre. 

  • Didn't we already have a referendum for a performing arts centre?

    2 days ago

    On November 7, 2015, the City held a referendum asking the electorate:"Are you in favour of the City of Kamloops borrowing up to $49 million to design and construct the parkade and performing arts centre complex?"31.97% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the referendum. Of those, 53.74% voted against borrowing the money for the centre and 46.26% voted in favour of the borrowing. The 2015 referendum did not measure the electorate support for an arts centre; it was specific to the borrowing. As the referendum did not pass, the City was unable to borrow the funds required to build the Arts Centre, and that proposal was not realized. 


    In January 2019, Mr. Fawcett appeared before Council to share a new vision for a Kamloops Centre for the Arts, which would be developed to serve a wide range of community needs. The funding structure in the new proposal for construction outlined an $8-$10 million personal donation from the Fawcetts, a minimum of $22 million to be raised from other levels of government and fundraising efforts, and up to $45 million from the City. On November 5, 2019, Council voted unanimously to support the development of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts in partnership with the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society and directed staff to initiate a referendum to obtain electoral approval to borrow the required funds.


    The referendum on April 4, 2020 will ask the electorate: “Are you in favour of the City of Kamloops borrowing up to $45 million to construct a Kamloops Centre for the Arts?”.


    City Council believes this is the right time and the right proposal for this project. Compared to the timing of the 2015 proposal, the City is in a stronger financial position and is able to absorb the new debt into its existing financial plan without a direct impact on property tax rates. 

  • Many other user groups need space, why fund an arts centre for Western Canada Theatre and Kamloops Symphony Orchestra?

    2 days ago

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts would not only serve the Western Canada Theatre Company (WCT) and the Kamloops Symphony (KSO), it would also be available for schools, local dance and choral performances, local and visiting performers, and graduations and provide an opportunity to create community within this new space. These events would draw customers to the many hotels and restaurants in the city and provide economic and employment opportunities for people living in Kamloops. The annex building—donated by Mr. Fawcett—would house the administrative offices for the WCT and KSO as well as offer significant rehearsal and meeting space to be used by many groups within the community. 

  • How are we supposed to vote for something without a proper business plan and minimum Class C estimate?

    2 days ago

    While the current design is a Class D estimate, the City's commitment to the construction will not exceed $45 million. In addition, the business case—commissioned by the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society and prepared by KPMG—provides a good estimate of the operating costs for the facility. The referendum is seeking approval from the electorate to borrow up to $45 million to construct the project. The details of the design and the specifics of governance will be developed if the community approves the borrowing and the project moves forward. 

  • Is retail space incorporated into the base level of of the building to offset operating costs?

    2 days ago

    Yes, some retail and/or restaurant space is planned in the Class D design estimate of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts. The exact location and kind of retail opportunities have not yet been determined. 

  • Will the other performance facilities remain open?

    2 days ago

    The Sagebrush Theatre will continue to be well used as a performance facility as it becomes more available to community.

    As Western Canada Theatre would relocate its operations to the Kamloops Centre for the Arts, the Pavilion Theatre would become vacant. The City is aware that the Pavilion Theatre building requires significant repair; however, a decision has not been made about the facility’s future.

  • Will the project have some accepted certification for environmental leadership (e.g. LEED or similar)?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Frank Dwyer's original submission from 'Ask a Question', November 2019.

    Sustainability is a strategic priority for City Council, and all new infrastructure is built with energy efficiency and environmental sustainability as its focus. As sustainability standards and guidelines are continually evolving, the exact details of the sustainability measures for this building have not been finalized. A key focus in the detailed design process for the Kamloops Centre for the Arts to be able to meet the Sustainable Kamloops Plan's objective of “Constructing all new municipal buildings to the equivalent of LEED gold standard.”

  • Why did Council choose to hold a referendum?

    2 days ago

    On November 5, 2019, Council unanimously voted to support the development of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts in partnership with the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society and directed staff to initiate a referendum to obtain electoral approval to borrow funds up to $45 million for construction costs. There are three ways for a municipality to fund projects such as the Kamloops Centre for the Arts: 

    • save funds for a period of time and then fund the project from these internal resources and/or use short-term debt (less than five years)
    • borrow the funds over a longer period of time from the Municipal Finance Authority of BC
    • use a combination of both reserves/savings and long-term borrowing 


    Borrowing to fund the project allows it to move forward without delay and spreads the construction costs over a set period of time. Section 175(2) of the Community Charter states that any financial commitment greater than five years may only be incurred with the approval of the electors. 

    The City has two options to seek the approval of the electors—through assent voting (referendum) or through the alternative approval process (counter-petition).

    Council felt a referendum would be the most transparent way to engage the community and determine whether the community will support for the project as it weighs the overall number of "yes" and "no" votes, whereas a counter-petition only gauges the "no" votes. 

  • Can I vote if I’m out of town on the referendum date?

    2 days ago

    If you expect to be absent from the city on advance or general voting days, you are eligible for mail ballot voting. Voting by mail is only available to those who have a physical disability, illness, or injury that prevents them from voting at another voting opportunity or those who expect to be absent from the city on advance and general voting days. Applications for mail ballots will be available in the new year. 

  • Will the tenants of the Annex Building be contributing to rent?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Frank Dwyer's original submission from 'Ask a Question', December 2019.

    It is expected that the tenants of the annex and the potential commercial tenants in the Centre for the Arts would pay rent for the space they occupy. 

  • Who will be responsible for the property insurance of the Annex Building?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Frank Dwyer's original submission from 'Ask a Question', December 2019.

    As a City-owned facility, the City would insure the building as part of the property insurance it holds on all civic facilities. The tenants would be responsible for their own liability insurance as users of the building. 

  • Are potential users of the facility aware of the proposed rental rates?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Alpha Bets' original submission from 'Ask a Question', December 2019.

    The rates used in the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society business case are blended rates that were calculated by KPMG to reflect full commercial rates and lower community and not-for-profit rates. As community groups currently pay to use the existing facilities, it is understood that they will also pay to use this facility. Once the building is under construction and the detailed operating plan has been finalized, the rates will be established and communicated.

  • Is there any effort being made to save money in other areas to completely offset the potential increase in taxes resulting from this project (operational)?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from thmocha's original submission from 'Ask a Question', December 2019.

    The City is always looking for ways to save money and find efficiencies in its operations. For this project, there are no tax increase implications for the debt; however there could be a small increase related to operations. As the facility is built, the City will look for new revenue opportunities and cost savings to offset these new expenses. 

  • Will the architect for this project be selected through an open and transparent process?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Frank Dwyer's original submission from 'Ask a Question', November 2019.

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society has indicated that it is working with Mr. Fawcett to provide the detailed design from the architect. This work is being completed as part of the donation from Mr. Fawcett and will ensure that the project can get started as soon as possible. The governance structure for the construction of the project has not yet been determined; however, if the City is managing the project’s procurement, we will abide by our ethics statement:
    • open and honest dealing with everyone involved in the purchasing process
    • fair and impartial award recommendations for all contracts and tenders
    • an irreproachable standard of personal integrity on the part of all those designated as purchasing agents for the City of Kamloops
    • co-operation with other public agencies in order to obtain the best possible value for every tax dollar
    • continuous development of purchasing skills and knowledge

  • Why was the word “Performing” dropped from the project title since 2015?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Jack Rainey's original submission from 'Ask a Question', November 2019.

    Since 2015, the community and civic demand for a facility of this kind has significantly increased beyond just the performing arts. While the Kamloops Centre for the Arts would support the cultural community to build its capacity, its use would reach beyond arts and culture. In addition, the City hopes to showcase other arts, such as paintings or sculptures, throughout the lobby and in other common spaces. As such, “Performing” was dropped from the project title to better reflect the inclusiveness of the new facility design. 

  • Will there by a dance rehearsal hall or more intimate dance performance venue in the final design? Will there be a venue for chamber music?

    2 days ago

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts has been designed to meet a broad spectrum of community and performance needs. To maximize the flexibility of the facility, there are no discipline-specific spaces identified at this time. Instead, there are multiple spaces of different sizes and functionality, which will be more suited to a variety of activities and events. 

  • Is the design of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts open to input or reconsideration?

    2 days ago

    The proposed design was developed to meet a wide range of arts, community, and civic needs based on community consultation from the 2015 proposal, input from the proposed resident tenants, and expertise from professionals in multiple disciplines. If the referendum is successful, the KCA Society will continue conversations with specific user groups to inform the detailed design; however, the general layout and design elements are set. The exact location and size of various rooms and storage will need to be finalized. 

  • Why do we need a Centre for the Arts?

    2 days ago

    The need to invest in arts and community amenities is driven by four critical factors: Community and Council direction, downtown revitalization, condition and availability of existing facilities, demand for enhanced community attractions and community need.

    The project will add to the City’s plans for downtown revitalization. The Kamloops Centre for the Arts will turn a prime block of downtown real estate, which the City originally purchased for redevelopment, into a productive use that will serve as an anchor for further adjacent development. This project will provide local employment and business spin-offs and add to the Downtown’s livability.

    Condition and Availability of Existing Facilities – The current facilities are aged and inadequate to support community demand. Facility limitations are directly impacting the quality and availability of performances and community events. The Sagebrush Theatre and Pavilion Theatre are both booked to their maximum and have recently experienced serious structural issues and require capital repairs.

    Demand for Enhanced Community Attractions – The Kamloops Centre for the Arts would be a key asset for the community. It would expand audiences for successful arts organizations, such as the Kamloops Symphony and Western Canada Theatre; support more shows and entertainment, community events, and use by non-profit organizations; and provide opportunities for travelling shows that are currently bypassing Kamloops.

    A venue for the arts has been in the City’s planning documents for over 20 years, including the following:

    • 2019–2022 Council Strategic Plan
    • Draft 2019 Recreation Master Plan
    • Draft 2019 Downtown Plan
    • 2015–2018 Council Strategic Plan
    • 2012–2014 Council Strategic Plan
    • 2004 Cultural Strategic Plan
    Driven by community engagement and needs, the 2019–2022 Council Strategic Plan identifies Arts, Culture, and Heritage as an area of focus to support the strategic priority of Livability. 

    The plan states “The City of Kamloops maintains a vibrant, high quality of life for an inclusive, healthy, and diverse community. We cultivate a vibrant and diverse arts, culture, and heritage environment throughout the city.” 

    Council direction includes exploring options for community cultural facilities and supporting placemaking through infrastructure and venue development. 

  • Why was KMPG LLP selected as the consultant to prepare the KCA business case?

    2 days ago

    This question was extracted from Frank Dwyer's original submission from 'Ask a Question', December 2019.

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society issued a request for proposal for consultants to create the business case for the Kamloops Centre for the Arts. There were many submissions, and KPMG was chosen by the Society as the successful candidate due to its vast, demonstrated experience in preparing a broad range of business cases for cities across the country and its ability to consult specialists and experts where required.

  • Why does this project only include 70 parking spaces?

    2 days ago

    When determining parking requirements for public infrastructure, common practice is to consider all parking options available around the facility, including public and private options, both on and off the subject property. For example, Sandman Centre has 300 parking stalls within its property line, but sufficient parking is available within four blocks of the arena to accommodate its 5,000 seat capacity. With the addition of 70 parking spaces, the parking need for the Centre for the Arts at the proposed location can be met with current public and private options.

    The Downtown Transportation Choices Strategy indicates that the majority of Kamloops residents are willing to walk up to three blocks or more between parking and their destination. This is also in line with the City’s priorities of sustainability and healthy communities.

    The City is developing a Parking Management Plan to address the current and future parking needs in the Downtown, which are influenced by many factors aside from this proposed facility.

    The addition of more underground parking significantly increases the building costs and reduces the feasibility of the project. Event and daytime parking will be addressed in the Parking Management Plan.

  • What is the annex building?

    2 days ago

    The annex building is located at 330 St. Paul Street, adjacent to the proposed site for the Kamloops Centre for the Arts. This building has been purchased by Mr. Fawcett with the intention to renovate and donate it to the City for part of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts and to provide educational and administrative space for both the Kamloops Symphony and Western Canada Theatre.

  • What will the Kamloops Centre for the Arts look like?

    2 days ago

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society has presented an artist's rendering of what the facility could look like. If the referendum is successful, the Society will continue further consultation and detailed design process with the retained architectural firm.

  • Will the Kamloops Centre for the Arts be affordable for community groups?

    2 days ago

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society envisions an enduring community asset that will serve the whole community and contribute to the social and economic well-being of Kamloops overall. The business case outlines a rental structure that ensures affordability for community not-for-profit groups versus commercial touring acts that are booking the facility, specifically stating: “Non-profit and community-based organizations will have substantially lower rates than commercial users...with the overall objective to maximize use and availability for the community.”

  • What is the timeline to build the Kamloops Centre for the Arts?

    2 days ago

    If the referendum is successful, the goal is to have the construction completed within three to four years. Architectural design could take 12-18 months, with construction starting as quickly as possible after design approval. However this timeline is subject to a multitude of factors and is an estimate only. 

  • How much has been fundraised by the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society?

    2 days ago

    The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society has had a significant funding kick-start thanks to a personal commitment from Mr. and Mrs. Fawcett that is valued between $8 million and $10 million. This includes the cost of purchasing the adjacent annex building and incorporating it into the overall facility. If the referendum passes and the City secures funding, the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society will establish a fundraising committee, which will seek funding from donors and all levels of government. The Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society has committed to fundraising at least $22 million.

  • Who funded the business case?

    2 days ago

    Knowing how important a business case is to any project of this magnitude, Mr. and Mrs. Fawcett made a personal donation to the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society for the purpose of developing the business case.