Fact before fiction
Fact: the city lease proposal is for the lease of properties. Fiction: the lease means building an underpass before a referendum supports it. Fact: before spending on planning or engineering the properties must be secured. Fiction: the cost will be $9 million. Fact: the cost to tax payers will only be a portion of the total build cost because of cost sharing with provincial and federal governments and CP Rail.
We hope that the citizens of Salmon Arm understand the facts and allow this diligent move by council and a company with foresight for the town.
The lease should be understood for what it is, a lease so that other development, or sale, could not make the properties unavailable for use in the event an underpass is supported and approved in the future. An added plus of the agreement is the acquisition of other land necessary (road dedication and statutory rights of way) at no cost beyond the lease agreement.
Improved access would add appeal to the downtown and waterfront, for locals and tourists alike. The current barrier between tourist traffic and the waterfront means most just keep on passing through, not willing to navigate the maze of turns to the waterfront, resulting in loss of economic benefits to the entire community. With other crossing options now unavailable because of development or too costly to engineer and build, it is timely and sensible of council to plan for a safer potential option.
We have a local developer willing to work with the community on possibilities for the future. Past performance has been improvement to the area through sensible investment and visionary planning. Let’s allow this proposal to move forward and see what it will bring to the community.
Chair of the Shuswap Pro Development Association.