A wood dock now sits along Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail, carried in during this year’s high water. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Debris from flooding prompts concern around Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail

Resident says long-term plan needed for popular public pathway

Though Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail typically requires maintenance after high water, flooding this year has left portions of the popular pathway requiring more work than usual.

Driftwood is piled along both sides of the trail in some sections, one of the boardwalk/viewing areas has once again fallen into disrepair, large black dock floats have washed ashore in the bird sanctuary as well as an old wooden dock with moorage for two boats.

The condition of the 4-kilometre trail, which is owned by the Nature Trust of B.C. and managed by the Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society (SABNES), with support from the City of Salmon Arm and the Shuswap Trail Alliance, prompted resident Vivian Morris to write to city council to suggest a long-term plan is needed.

“Do we leave its maintenance in the hands of SABNES (a dedicated grouip of volunteers with a mean age of 70)?” asks Morris, noting some of the damage from the flooding poses a danger to the public. “When a seven year old or a 70 year old falls and breaks their neck, who will the sue, the city or SABNES?”

The letter goes before council at its Monday, Aug. 10 meeting. However, Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison spoke with Morris beforehand and saw for himself what this year’s flooding had wrought upon the trail. He acknowledged this year was especially bad, a result of the extended period of high water.

Driftwood is piled up on both sides of a section of the Salmon Arm foreshore trail that was flooded this summer during high water. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Though some work has already been done to clear the trail of the debris, Harrison said maintenance is difficult, in part because of the amount of debris to be removed, but also because of cost-cutting measures put in place by the city in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We put a freeze on all relief workers, all summer-student workers, so we didn’t hire any of those, for savings of about $340,000,” said Harrison.

Morris suggested a concrete walkway similar to the one on either side of Marine Park might be a long-term solution, but acknowledged it would involve millions of dollars. Harrison said he preferred trail’s more natural state, and didn’t want to see a concrete path run through the bird sanctuary.

As for raising those parts of trail prone to flooding, Harrison explained they serve as fish habitat.

“Fisheries told us when those trails are covered with water, there’s little salmon fry in there that are feeding in close to the shore,” said Harrison. “So they don’t want a dike or anything built to stop that water.”

Harrison suggested the foreshore trail question would be an item of consideration for the city’s newly formed Active Transportation Task Force, which will guide the city in developing an active transportation plan.

“Trails, pathways, that’s really what it’s about, cycling and walking trails,” said Harrison, adding the task force will begin meeting in September.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail to be closed to dogs for two months

Read more: Unusual winged visitor makes a stop in the Shuswap


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Debris covers part of the boardwalk leading to one of the lookouts along the Salmon Arm foreshore trail. The structure was damaged during this year’s high water and is unsafe to walk on. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

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