Tracy Hughes, Salmon Arm Observer editor

Column: A Salmon Arm wish list

Dear Santa,

Salmon Arm has become known for its Christmas spirit, so you shouldn’t be surprised to be getting a letter from our little corner of the world.

I’m sure the children of our fine city have been sending you their requests, – although I’m starting to wonder if the kids simply Facebook or Instagram you, since the Observer suffered from a decided lack of letters to forward to you this Christmas season.

But I’m here to ask for a few things on behalf of all the citizens – the tall and the small – who live in the Shuswap.

It looks like the long-anticipated Trans-Canada Highway improvements, including a remodelled Salmon River Bridge, will be the gift that never seems to arrive. Construction was scheduled to start in 2017 and continue until 2022. While a few things have been demolished in preparation, many residents are left wondering about the apparent hold up. Here’s hoping you can help deliver on this upgrade which will addresses a safety situation that residents have been concerned about for decades.

There’s a couple of other places that could use a little of Santa’s magic. The Trans-Canada Highway through the downtown core needs a close look. I’ve been to multiple collisions near Jacobson Ford lately. There’s also concern for the intersections of Ross Street, Alexander Street and little, stubby McLeod Street. Another traffic snarl is at the 30th Street NE intersection near the uptown Tim Hortons. A traffic circle remedy has since been deemed unworthy, but the jam ups continue. Got any solutions, Santa?

It was great to see improvements made to Blackburn Park, with the proposed spray park opening this year. I hope you can lend a hand with the remainder of the work, including the stationary outdoor exercise equipment and paved fitness path, which will also be an asset to young and old in our community.

Ideally, Santa, we’d love to be able to develop a bigger swimming pool with more amenities. There’s a number of swim groups who would love more access, not to mention all the families who have fun spending time in a healthy way. The land is now purchased and available to the city, but funds for development are always short. Yes, this is a big ticket item, Santa, but one which would be beneficial to many.

Salmon Arm appears to be bucking the trend away from charitable giving, with so many in our community stepping up to help people in need – from children with cancer, to neglected animals, to the homeless or seniors in need of care. It is one of the most heartwarming parts of our job to report on the human kindness and generosity that exists in our area.

So Santa, please spare a little extra Christmas cheer for all those people in our community who volunteer their time or money to so many worthwhile causes. Our city would be poor without them.

And Merry Christmas to you all.

-Tracy Hughes is the editor of the Salmon Arm Observer and Eagle Valley News

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