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Council approves projects plan for City of Salmon Arm’s next 10 years

2022 strategic plan prioritizes projects, leaves ability for newly elected council to review it
Improvements to Lakeshore Road are one of 10 projects listed as short-term priorities in Salmon Arm’s 2022 Corporate Strategic Plan. (File photo)

Salmon Arm now has an updated road map for projects over the next 10 years, with Lakeshore Road improvements one of 10 short-term priorities.

In 2013, the city created a 10-year ‘corporate strategic plan’ to outline short-term, medium-term and long-term projects. A 2022 draft strategic plan, which has been in the making over the past 18 months, was presented to city council on Aug. 22 by consultants Urban Systems. Council and staff collaborated on the plan over that time and input was invited from the community through a survey.

One of the additions to the updated plan is the recognition that new councils can and should review it every four years.

Short-term projects are dated as 2023 to 2025. Along with Lakeshore Road improvements, the 10 priorities include a sewage treatment plant upgrade, Canoe Beach Master Plan initiatives, an urban Indigenous strategy/truth & reconciliation, climate action initiatives and a transportation master plan.

Mayor Alan Harrison went through several of the projects in the plan, one of them the new pool and retrofit of the existing recreation centre. He said although the community wants it sooner, it is listed as medium-term only because the city can’t afford to do it any earlier.

Medium-term projects are dated as 2026-2028, and long-term, 2029-2031.

Harrison said council received good input from the community.

“For the most part, we were able to adjust to what we heard.”

The draft plan also has a ‘Recent Achievements and In Progress (2021-2022)’ section with 15 projects.

They include projects such as: visitor information services; plastic checkout bag regulation; water conservation plan; Ross Street underpass; Fire Smart initiatives and forest fuel load mitigation; cultural master plan and four projects done in collaboration with other levels of government. Those include: BC Housing affordable and supportive units; Trans-Canada Highway four-laning and new Salmon River bridge; and Transit Service expansion initiatives.

Consultant Therese Zulinick described the 2013 plan as very successful, with the city able to complete 24 projects, while the other projects are either underway or well on their way to starting. She said such a plan provides a good system for evaluating projects and keeping a focus for everyone involved, from council and staff to funding agencies.

Read more: Picking favourites: Residents asked to weigh in on which projects Salmon Arm should prioritize

Read more: 2014 - City evaluates priorities

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond noted how valuable the plan has been for her.

“When I was first elected on council we all had one of the previous plans laminated on our desk… I remember looking at it and first thinking, wow that’s a lot to get done… But I’ve seen the process work and it is an approach that delivers results. I look at this list now and we’re pretty much there. When everyone is on the same track, same plan, things get done…

“It is a very disciplined approach and I think it’s important to have discipline when you’re spending other people’s money. Which is what we do here.”

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he couldn’t imagine the past 10 years without the plan.

Coun. Tim Lavery expressed his appreciation for the plan, but proposed a change he has brought up before. He said he would like to see the ‘food and urban agricultural plan’ moved from a medium-term to a short-term project.

Lavery noted the city has already put aside funds and, if the project was short-term, more funds could be added to the reserve and the city would then be in a position to apply for matching grants.

He acknowledged other groups are doing work in this area but he sees the city in a convener role.

“I just believe there’s a real leading role for the city to play as many cities do develop, adopt food security policies.”

He provided examples.

“There are policy implications that can be done about urban agriculture, ranging from supportive community gardens, to supportive services, to backyard chickens… We can look at those sorts of things…”

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren supported his proposal, but others on council, although agreeing he made good points, favoured leaving it as medium-term for now.

Council members present voted unanimously to support the strategic plan as a whole. Coun. Chad Eliason was absent.

The plan will be available on the city’s website once edits are complete. The draft can be seen in the Aug. 22 agenda on pages 83-86.
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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