Student paper prompts politicians and planners

Kamloops officials express interest in proposals made by Arts student for Economics class paper

A UBC undergraduate Economics paper on funding for a downtown convention centre in Kamloops has drawn the attention of that city's politicians and planners.

Ted Noakes, a UBC Arts student, concluded in his report that although Kamloops would greatly benefit from a proposed 1,000-person capacity convention centre, funding for the structure would be best collected from selected businesses and parties that would benefit most from the project.

He says that the city could co-ordinate the collection of the estimated $3.5 million required to build the centre through a hotel tax, restaurant increases, a downtown business improvement tax or user taxes.

His ideas have Kamloops politicians and convention planners interested in reviewing his report.

Russ Cundari, chair of the city's convention centre review committee, indicated that the committee will be taking a look at Noakes' document.

Noakes, who will be returning to campus this fall to complete his studies, wrote the 35-page paper for his Applied Economics class.

"I was initially interested in looking at either a public transportation project or a convention centre," says the 24-year-old.

He sent inquiries to Kamloops mayoral candidates last fall to solicit their thoughts on the key issues in the municipal election.

Then-candidate and now mayor, Mel Rothendurger, wrote back with a number of issues including the convention centre funding dilemma. That sealed Noakes' decision to pursue the topic.

"I knew that the Kamloops convention centre was a controversial issue and that someone needed to objectively look at it," says Noakes.

The Kamloops native says that the paper has been the most challenging thing he has tackled during his university career to date. He credits his Economics professor, Ken White, with helping to guide him through a thorough examination of the situation.

"Prof. White was really good at asking questions and playing devil's advocate to make sure that I covered all the issues," he says.

Noakes, who is thinking about either becoming a high school teacher or working in Third World development after he graduates from UBC, says the six months he spent researching, analysing and writing the paper will serve him well in his future endeavours.

"It has really taught me how to approach problems from an economic perspective and that can be taken into the Third World or commercial projects."