Askew’s is undertaking a $2 million renovation of its downtown Salmon Arm location and is seeking the city’s support to expand the sidewalk in front of the store to add a patio - necessitating the relocation of the bus stop. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Askew’s undertakes $2 million reno of downtown Salmon Arm store

City support sought for widening sidewalk for patio, relocationg public transit hub

Shoppers at downtown Askew’s will have noticed the grocery store is undergoing renovations.

Amid the shifting aisles and reorganizing of product locations is a vision of rejuvenation, with the goal of making the downtown Askew’s grocery store a more vibrant, lively marketplace.

In a letter to the city, Askew’s special projects co-ordinator Claire Askew explains the store is in the midst of a large-scale renovation that will include new flooring, refrigeration cases, wall decor, lighting, an opening up of the produce area and a coffee, beer and wine bar. Interior renovations will also include an expansion of the store’s deli and the inclusion of a pizza oven, with an emphasis on providing quick and easy meal options.

“We plan to undertake the renovation in two phases with the first budgeted at about $500,000 and the second phase budgeted at about $1.5 million…,” writes Askew. “We believe the investment we make in renovation and revitalizing the downtown Askew’s location will have positive spin-off effects for all of historic downtown.”

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Askew’s letter to the city includes a request for the city to commit $115,000 in its 2019 budget to partner on several changes in front of the store along Lakeshore Drive, including an expansion of the sidewalk width, planting trees and relocating the bus stop to a different location.

“We strongly support public transit; however, moving the bus stop would facilitate this proposal and relocating the bus stop would work better for our business in other ways as well,” writes Askew, who also asks for permission for a patio on the sidewalk.

In addition to the above requests, a new crosswalk is suggested at the west end of the store to increase pedestrian traffic for Askew’s and stores on the opposite side of the street.

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The cost for the road works, including the construction of a new bus shelter and placement of trees, comes in at $115,000, and Askew states the total contribution from the city “will certainly not exceed that amount.”

In a separate letter, Meikle Studios Social Art House owner Adam Meikle offers his support of Askew’s requests, suggesting a transit hub, with shelter, might be better located farther west along Lakeshore Drive. He also supports the sidewalk patio.

“All of the above, including an additional crosswalk, supports the walkability of downtown Salmon Arm and will increase the engagement with and modernity of our city,” writes Meikle.

Letters of support for Askew’s budget request were also provided to the city by Downtown Salmon and Salmon Arm Economic Development Society.

“The board indicated their support for this project not only because it supports revitalization efforts downtown, but also because it has the potential to create another public gathering place which is essential to community building,” writes Salmon Arm Economic Development vice-chair Brent Moffat.

City council will consider Askew’s request during budget deliberations.


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