- Our Town
Committee difficult to envision
Some city councillors are apprehensive about how well a new, “inclusive” committee organized by Salmon Arm’s chamber will function without local government representation.
For a few months now the Salmon Arm and District Chamber of Commerce and president Jim Kimmerly have been putting together a “visioning committee,” which he formally unveiled in a presentation last Monday to city council.
The committee is currently comprised of representatives from the chamber, the Adams Lake Indian Band, Community Futures, Downtown Salmon Arm, the Committee for a Strong and Sustainable Salmon Arm, Shuswap Pro Development, Work BC and Wetland Alliance: The Ecological Response. (Representation from the Neskonlith Indian Band is pending band council approval).
Though still in early stages, Kimmerly explained the committee’s role is to “work together in reviewing and, in some cases, identifying major growth project proposals for the community and provide feedback to council on how these proposals can move forward in a way that will be acceptable to a majority of area residents and businesses.”
He cited the divisive development process for SmartCentres, as well as the proposed Ross Street underpass, as the inspiration for the committee’s creation, with the hope to avoid similar situations that could negatively impact local economic growth and development.
While the concept of the committee appealed to council, they questioned how it could work without city representation. To this, Kimmerly, said the idea is not to isolate council, but to keep that political element out of the format. This raised some skepticism among council.
“With respect to everyone sitting here and in the gallery, that we aren’t going to ever get rid of the political part of it, because all of those groups bring a political piece to the table…,” said Coun. Denise Reimer. “I think it’s a great idea, but not including the city at the table, I don’t think that’s a great idea, because if we’re really going to do the work and sit down and communicate, we need everybody at the table.”
Coun. Ken Jamieson said he liked the idea of the committee as proposed, without the politics, but was also reserved on how it might succeed.
“That’s a pretty diverse group – Now I’m not suggesting you can’t agree on anything, but I look forward to some of the discussions you will have,” said Jamieson.
After the meeting, Kimmerly, elaborated to the Observer on the need to keep the committee free of local politicians.
“I’ve been involved in quite a few different board situations where we have had city representation… if the councillor says something like, ‘I don’t know if council is going to approve something like that,’ it causes that freedom of thought, let’s say, from being free flowing, and that’s why we didn’t want to have anyone from council on the committee,” said Kimmerly.
“We wanted to have that free flow of thoughts, and do those updates to the city from time to time in front of the whole group, instead of just having one councillor present at a committee meeting.”