The proposed creation of ‘Alexander Plaza’ in Salmon Arm will be delayed until July.
Downtown Salmon Arm (DSA) announced at its annual general meeting on May 27 that the portion of Alexander Street NE from Hudson Avenue to Lakeshore would be opening on Saturdays to pedestrians only, closed to motor vehicles.
A majority at the meeting also voted in favour of the name, Alexander Plaza, for that section of the street.
The Saturday change was to begin on June 13 and go through to Sept. 5, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
However, the plan has changed somewhat.
Opening of the pedestrian plaza will be pushed back to Saturday, July 4, DSA manager Lindsay Wong reported on June 8.
“Just to give everybody time to prepare,” she said, explaining that enthusiasm for the plan didn’t allow quite enough time to get ready.
She said businesses might be contemplating making changes to their hours or increasing staffing, among other adaptations.
Asked how proprietors in the area have responded to the plan, she said most like it and think it’s a great idea.
“I’m not saying it’s positive for every response we’ve received but certainly the majority.”
Outdoor seating is part of the plan, along with entertainment and different sorts of booths.
Although details are still a work in progress, she said musicians would likely perform two different times during the day.
Wong said information booths, perhaps from the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce or Shuswap Tourism, would provide another venue for such organizations to disseminate information. Although there would be nothing interactive in keeping with pandemic protocols, another booth might provide crafts for kids.
“We’re totally open to ideas, this is new to everyone,” Wong encouraged.
COVID-19 was a catalyst for the proposal, although the street closure has been talked about for years.
At the Downtown Salmon Arm AGM, director Althea Mongerson announced:
“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.”
Wong said health and safety will be of prime importance, with hand sanitizers at both ends of the plaza along with signage emphasizing health protocols.
“It has not gone by the wayside just because we’re doing this… If things change in the other direction, we will be pulling the plug. We’ve been lucky so far, very lucky.”