Sicamous residents have shown they care about the future of their Main Street.
They asked questions and voiced concerns about Main Street developments at two town hall meetings held Nov. 3 at the Sicamous Seniors Centre.
The meetings focused largely on the Shuswap Healing Centre, which is slated to be built at 200 Main St. They also addressed the Habitat for Humanity, and Eagle Valley Senior Citizen Housing Society, affordable housing projects at 417, 425 and 433 Main St.
District of Sicamous corporate officer Jennifer Bruns said staff and council realize the meetings weren’t typical town halls because of their 50-person limit due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Despite these restrictions, we are committed to answering any questions… We encourage everyone to contact the district directly for more information or to provide their feedback,” said Bruns.
The first meeting was at 3 p.m. and it reached capacity, so a few residents were turned away at the door. Those residents were notified they could participate on Zoom as the meetings were live streamed and recorded there. About 35 tuned in to the first meeting online. The second meeting at 6 p.m. had 41 people attend in person and 28 online.
Questions and concerns were raised by residents on a variety of topics such as: green space, alternative development locations, funding, taxes, services offered and more.
Christiane Duclos, who leads a group of Sicamous residents who would like to see 200 Main St. remain undeveloped for use as a park, said she was disappointed with the town hall and didn’t feel heard.
In a Nov. 5 email, she wrote: “If the designers manage to preserve even 30 per cent of the green space, the usability for community functions will be extremely diminished… the community will have to find wholly accessible, alternative locations.”
An information board showing the approximate footprint of the future Shuswap Healing Centre on 200 Main St. was on display at the town halls. A variety of information boards about all the developments were also displayed and members of council and district staff were there to talk with residents.
Council has said 200 Main St. will continue to provide public green space if the centre is built there. Plans include keeping existing trees on the property and creating an outdoor community gathering space.
Both meetings had a public question-and-answer session moderated by Coun. Bob Evans.
Questions were submitted in-person and through Zoom, and Evans read them to a three-person panel consisting of Sicamous Town Manager Evan Parliament; Dr. Avein Saaty-Tafoya, health-care consultant and member of the Shuswap Healing Centre design team; and Bill Miller, president of the Habitat for Humanity Kamloops Society. Panel members answered questions related to their particular area of expertise.
Recordings of the two question-and-answer sessions are viewable on the district’s Youtube channel.
Bruns said all questions submitted during the meetings will be answered in writing and shared through the district’s communication channels such as its website and social media.
District staff thanked the Seniors Centre Society for being wonderful hosts for the meetings, giving special thanks to Velma Fletcher, Elaine Butler and Fred Weir. They also thanked Tkwamipla7 (Councillor) Edna Felix and Tkwamipla7 Theresa Williams from Splatsin, who attended the evening meeting.