North Shore area far from Bronx

Once again, the North Shore is under the spotlight as a poor cousin to the South Shore. Since the cities of Kamloops and North Kamloops amalgamated in 1967, residents on the north side of the river have harboured misgivings.

Mostly, they encompass an underlying suspicion that the South Shore enjoys the bulk of City Hall spending while the North Shore is left to struggle on its own.

At times, this skepticism has broken to the surface. When a major public complex was proposed next to Riverside Park in 1982, the North Shore vote defeated it. To say the least, it was a major missed opportunity - for an investment of only $10 million, the city would have gained a sports and recreation complex, science centre and other amenities. Senior governments would have paid the rest.

Several years later, a hockey arena now known as Interior Savings Centre was built on the site at a cost to local taxpayers well over double what the entire complex would have cost.

There's no doubt North Kamloops has issues. Prior to amalgamation, its municipal government installed infrastructure that, shall we say, was of a lesser quality. To this day, the amalgamated city is trying to catch up on reconstructing substandard roads and drainage works. It changed the share structure on sidewalks to encourage neighbourhoods to build them, but many streets remain without.

Indeed, the City of Kamloops has invested tens of millions of dollars in upgrading such infrastructure. It was successful in gaining public approval of a multi-million-dollar upgrade to the McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre. It initiated a complete restoration of the McDonald Park neighbourhood, supported façade upgrades for businesses, improved Tranquille road traffic and pedestrian crossings, established a community improvement plan, co-developed the fine new Library Square.

There remains more to be done, as Minos Restaurant owner George Georgiou pointed out this week when he said the North Shore needs more lighting.

"It's dark and scary," he told us. "Tranquille has been forgotten by everybody."

He went on to compare the North Shore-South Shore relationship to Manhatten and the Bronx. The Bronx, of course, is one of the poorest urban districts in the U.S., while Manhatten is perceived as upper crust.

Georgiou runs a fine restaurant, the longevity of which speaks for itself, and he has every right to express his opinions. Such comments, though, do little to advance the cause or reputation of the North Shore, simply perpetuating the perception that it's somehow not quite as good as the rest of the city.

Tuesday, City council discussed his concerns, and will continue moving ahead with lighting improvements on the North Shore as the budget permits. No doubt, Georgiou's comments will ensure that council doesn't forget about lighting needs there as it moves forward with budgets in future years.

In the meantime, though, it would be more progressive to deal with North Shore issues in the context of its own needs, rather than constantly raising negative comparisons with the South Shore.

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