The Salmon Arm Observer asked all three mayoralty candidates, Nancy Cooper, Alan Harrison and Jim Kimmerly, to provide a brief bio as well as a 75-word answer to the question: Are you for or against the Ross Street underpass project and why?
Their answers are listed below, alphabetically by name.
Having lived in Salmon Arm most of my life and raising my family here, I am quite familiar with our wonderful city. My background includes 25 years family construction business partner, 20 years Okanagan College instructor, five years Business Manager for CMHA, active community volunteer for many years for non-profit organizations, as well as serving one term as city councillor and two terms as mayor.
In favour – accessibility and safety are my top reasons. The Ross Street Underpass will have sidewalks for pedestrians, scooters, and bicycles to navigate to the waterfront safely. The underpass will be high enough to provide uninterrupted access for buses, transport trucks, emergency vehicles, ambulances and firetrucks. The design includes a storm drain upgrade which is absolutely necessary and will alleviate flooding on Ross Street. The good news is there will be no tax increase!
I was raised in Salmon Arm on a rural property at the foot of Mt. Ida. Following graduation, I worked at Federated Co-op, to help fund my schooling. After graduating from UBC, my wife and I went north. After five years in Tumbler Ridge, we returned to Salmon Arm, where I worked as a school principal for 29 years. Debbie and I loved raising our three boys here. I have served on City Council for 19 years. Recently retired, I have the time, experience and skills to be your mayor.
I will vote yes on my referendum ballot. Here is why:
#1. This will provide a permanent, safe transportation route for pedestrians, bikes and vehicles.
#2. The project can be completed with no tax increase. The debt on Shaw Centre will be retired in 2019. These savings will more than cover the annual debt payment.
#3. If we don’t complete the project now, Transport Canada will mandate on-going improvements to the present level crossings, which will result only in short term solutions.
Jim is a resident of Salmon Arm, having lived here for 18 years. He operated a successful downtown financial services business for 16 years helping people with their financial goals. Jim became very active in the community with service in the Shuswap Rotary Club, Downtown Improvement Association and the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, becoming president of each of those organizations. He also served as a director on the Shuswap Hospital Foundation. Jim is married, enjoys biking, golf and investing.
I am in favour of better access to the waterfront but I am not convinced that the Ross Street Underpass is the best solution. Other options should have been presented to the public years ago for their input and consideration. Periodic flooding that will prevent use of the underpass on occasion along with traffic issues at Ross and Lakeshore are concerning. I will go with what the voters decide.
The candidates will answer another question on a community issue in the following two weeks leading up to the election.