The race for spot on Salmon Arm council has grown by four, with Jim Kimmerly, Wayne Matthews, Sylvia Lindgren and Mary-Louise McCausland announcing their intention to run.
This informal slate is running under the banner, Prosperity 4 Salmon Arm, a political offshoot of local organization Plan 4 Prosperity.
Kimmerly ran for city council in 2014, while Lindgren ran for the B.C. NDP in 2017. Matthews is a former longtime Salmon Arm councillor. McCausland is a rookie to Salmon Arm’s municipal political scene.
Speaking on behalf of the group and the candidates, Jim Kimmerly says the idea behind the slate was to bring to the ballot a diverse group of individuals with different niches, skill sets and even political stripes, but with a shared goal of improving people’s lives in Salmon Arm.
“All of the candidates agree on the four main components of our campaign, and that’s getting more, better paying jobs in Salmon Arm…, better housing options, increased transportation services and maybe increased frequencies in some cases, and needed infrastructure and amenities, especially on the tourism side of it,” said Kimmerly.
Regarding jobs, the candidates want to attract industry and light manufacturing to the community, possibly by appealing to Lower Mainland companies to branch into Salmon Arm.
“They have a higher cost of living in terms of housing prices and taxes, and you’ve got traffic issues and all of that,” explained Kimmerly. “So when companies decide they want to relocate somewhere or open up another branch with their current employees, if they…come here, they get paid the same wages but they’re actually getting a wage increase if you like because of the lower cost of living and lower operating costs for the business itself.
“So that’s making contact with people, getting to know them first, understand their business and all of that, invite them to our area to have a look around and start to talk about what we need to do to get them here.”
The group is also interested in agricultural opportunities – growing a greenhouse industry that can produce food locally and help lessen dependency on imports.
Increased transportation services can be as simple as adding bike lanes in the community, said Kimmerly. However, the group is also interested in exploring opportunities for expansion of services at the airport.
“There are some companies that have set up here… and one of the big decision makers for them was that they could fly here from their other location, so they’d spend two or three hours in the air versus eight or 10 driving. That’s really important for business operators who are looking at adding operations,” said Kimmerly.
For housing, the group sees a need for more apartments, townhouses, and single-detached homes in a price range that is more affordable to young families.
“Our whole program, what we’re trying to put together, is based on trying to keep more younger people here with opportunities for them and to attract more young families. So you’ve got to have housing that matches those demographics,” said Kimmerly.
The group is also united in support of the proposed Ross Street underpass. However, Kimmerly said they would like to see proposed changes for the Trans-Canada Highway, including the moving of stop lights from the Ross Street/TCH intersection over to 4th Street, put on hold until after the election.
“If they put forth these recommendations from ICBC, traffic coming from the west end of town won’t be able to turn left onto Ross Street to head down to the waterfront because there won’t be a left-turn option there,” said Kimmerly.
“Not to mention, it does mess up a couple of businesses in that area with access issues as well.”