Recent successes, upcoming projects and future goals for Salmon Arm were all touched on in Mayor Alan Harrison’s annual state of the city address.
The address was delivered during a luncheon hosted by the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce at the Prestige Hotel on Wednesday, Jan. 14. Those in attendance included members of city council, the Shuswap Economic Development Society as well as local business owners.
Harrison began with a small recap of 2019, mentioning the construction of the Shuswap Memorial Cemetery and the near eradication of single use plastic bags in local grocery stores. Harrison also noted how at the start of 2019 there were no legal cannabis stores in Salmon Arm and now there are five in the city.
“The fear that they would bring difficult problems around their storefronts has not materialized, we have had no problem at all,” Harrison said. “This is a success in my mind and if you talk to those store owners who have worked in other communities, the process that we went through here went very well for them.”
Another point of pride for the mayor is the city’s new composting program, the success of which Harrison attributed mainly to the will of the people and their drive to make it happen.
“The people of Salmon Arm really want to do the right thing and they have made it work,” he said.
Harrison went on to speak of plans for 2020, mentioning that money generated by a parcel tax increase enabled the city to pave many roads in 2019. For 2020, council budgeted an additional $200,000 to maintain new and existing roads.
On the topic of construction, Harrison provided updates on the Ross Street underpass project. The early works tender, which included the removal of a diversion track, has been completed by CP. Harrison says the city opted to take out the third track since it would take up more land and introduce additional costs to the project. Next for the underpass is an approximately $2.8 million engineering feat, a two-track ‘Shoo-fly’ diversion, essentially the curving of rail line around a construction site. After the diversion is completed, digging for the underpass can commence.
Harrison also shared some loose plans for the approximate $45.4 million recreation centre concept planned for 2027. A survey issued to residents came back identifying leisure/public swimming to be among the top priorities. Also floated were ideas like lazy rivers, water slides and large hot tub spaces.
Harrison said council has put aside $80,000 for the project this year and will save the same amount the next year, to go towards the next step of a design.
A site selection study for a wastewater treatment plant is going on now and a draft is expected to be released at the end of February.
The Salmon Arm West highway project is underway said Harrison, going on to say discussions between the Neskonlith and Adams Lake bands and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are going well. He said the project’s timeline is a bit grey though as the settling of the pre-load has yet to be determined.