COVID-19 has prompted a change to a portion of Alexander Street in Salmon Arm’s downtown.
The annual general meeting of Downtown Salmon Arm on May 27 concluded with an announcement. Alexander Street NE, from Hudson Avenue to Lakeshore, will be open on Saturdays to foot traffic only, closed to motor vehicles.
The change will begin on Saturday, June 13 and continue each Saturday through to Sept. 5 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Director Althea Mongerson made the announcement.
“This is a project we’ve been talking about for quite a number of years – it’s opening Alexander to foot traffic only. It’s been going in many cities for quite a few years but in light of the COVID pandemic, there has been an even bigger light shed on the fact that we need some more space on our streets.”
She said the planning is in its early stages but it’s hoped there will be artisans or vendors down the centre of the street, and perhaps buskers or musical events. Outdoor eating is a central idea.
“We are really hoping that our restaurants on Alexander will be able to take advantage of the extra space, spread out their tables, and even those waiting for the bank line, say… It would be great to have more space.”
Asked if there will be tables in the centre where families could sit in pods, Mongerson said that will be part of the plan.
Those present at the Zoom AGM were asked to vote on a name for the foot-traffic-only area. Out of three choices – Alexander Square, Alexander Market and Alexander Plaza – Alexander Plaza won by a landslide.
Kevin Flynn, city council’s representative on the Downtown Salmon Arm (DSA) board, voiced his support for the plan.
“I think this is really exciting. I know that the mayor and council are supportive. I know we have all kinds of things to iron out… but Kelowna’s talking about closing Bernard, Banff is talking about closing their main street the whole summer, not just Saturdays… I think this is extremely positive. What better time to try something unique than a time when we’re not just sure what the summer’s going to look like? I think this is a great move by the board.”
Mongerson said DSA realizes it will be a big feat for everyone and hopes to get as much participation as possible from retailers. A survey will be going out so the DSA board can compose a more detailed plan to take to city council on Monday.
President Ron Langridge encouraged anyone who has thoughts about what to do on Alexander, to please share them.